"Locally heavy rainfall is forecast across western Cuba and over much of Florida and the northern Gulf coast into early next week", senior hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart said in Friday's tropical weather outlook.
Alberto, a pre-season subtropical storm, formed over the Northwestern Caribbean Sea Friday morning and will bring a wide swath of tropical moisture across the region as it moves northward in the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend.
Alberto, with maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour, is moving east at 2 miles per hour near the Yucatan Peninsula and is forecast to begin moving north Friday night.
Their forecast for Central Florida said to expect a 40 percent chance of showers after noon today with east-southeast wind 5 to 15 miles per hour.
Periods of heavy rain is expected as Sunday progresses into Monday and Tuesday. Alberto comes ahead of schedule: the six-month hurricane season doesnt begin until June 1. The tropical storm may bring some rain to our area, but very minimal. Storm total rainfall amounts may reach up to 6 to 8 inches in localized [areas] by Monday.
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The Government of Cuba has issued a Tropical Storm Watch for the western Cuban province of Pinar del Rio.
Whether or not the disturbance develops into something more, South Florida will likely see a lot of rain and wind over the next few days. The northern Gulf Coast could then see flooding rain, winds strong enough to form tornadoes, and isolated storm surge flooding.
The National Hurricane Centre said the early development does not necessarily mean we are in for a busy hurricane season.
Last hurricane season - which produced the immensely destructive hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria - was exceptionally active, said Bell, who doesn't now expect this season to produce such intense activity. The models have come around to a north-eastern or central Gulf Coast landfall.
Maria devastated Puerto Rico and Dominica.