Subtropical Storm Alberto is now forecast to strengthen and take a track a little closer to Florida's west coast. This has prompted the National Hurricane Center to issue a Tropical Storm Watch for much of the Greater Tampa Bay Area. A Storm Surge Watch has also been issued for sections of the Nature Coast north of Crystal River.
Rain from the season's first named storm moved into much of South Florida early Saturday morning, but in most cases it has been light and steady. Heavier rain bands from Subtropical Storm Alberto are forecast to move across the peninsula Saturday night and Sunday, and a Flood Watch continues for all of central and south Florida through Sunday evening.
The coastal hazards associated with Alberto, namely high surf, coastal flooding, and minor surge will begin to affect portions of southwest Florida Saturday night, moving up the coast to west-central sections of the state on Sunday. Water spouts and an isolated tornado are also possible in the stronger rain squalls Sunday, as low-level spin increases on Alberto's eastern side.
Beyond Sunday, Subtropical Storm Alberto is forecast to turn to the northwest - further away from Florida's west coast - and approach the Florida Panhandle. By Monday, conditions are projected to become more favorable for strengthening into a formidable tropical storm, and Alberto is likely to make landfall near or just west of Pensacola. Lingering moisture will likely lead to several more days of enhanced rainfall across the peninsula, but the coastal hazards should subside some Monday and Tuesday.
A Flood Watch has been issued for the entire WLRN listening area through Monday. The heaviest rain is likely to move into Southeast Florida by Saturday afternoon. Periods of rain will then likely continue through Monday. Early projections on rainfall from this storm system are between 4 and 8 inches, which could lead to localized street flooding. Brief waterspouts are possible along coastal waters.
Subtropical Storm Alberto's moisture and resulting downpours may linger over the state through much of next week, further aggravating the flooding risk. However, other tropical weather hazards such as surge, wind and coastal flooding should subside by Tuesday.