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Flood warnings issued for parts of the area as rain from Alberto approaches

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(National Hurricane Center)

Sub-tropical storm Alberto is picking up strength as it moves closer to the Gulf coast.

As of Sunday afternoon, Alberto is moving slower than we anticipated at about 13 mph. It is about 130 miles west of Tampa, Florida, with max winds of 50 mph. A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for portions of the Alabama and Florida coastline along the Gulf of Mexico. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Middle of Longboat Key to the Mississippi/Alabama border.

Right now, there is only a Flood Warning for portions of Effingham, Screven and Jasper counties closer to home.

Heavy rain is expected to impact most of the area between Sunday afternoon into Monday evening.

Sunday night we could get up to 1.5 inches as outer rain bands from Alberto move into our area. By the time Alberto leaves our area on Tuesday, some of places could see upwards of 5 inches of rain.

No major power outages are expected. However, I do anticipate some areas to flood.

Please don’t drive through areas where you cannot see the road. You don’t know how deep the water is. All it takes is just two feet of water to move your car.

I also anticipate flights being impacted tonight and tomorrow. So please check with your airline before heading to Savannah International Airport.

While no severe weather is expected from this system in Georgia or South Carolina, there is a very small likelihood we could see a Tornado Watch or Warning. I think we have a greater likelihood of seeing a Tornado Watch on Monday however we can’t rule it out for Sunday night. Make sure you have identified a place to go in case your area is issued a Tornado Watch or Warning.

Alberto is expected to make landfall along the Gulf coast early Monday morning and continue on a Northward track through Alabama. It will then continue onto central Tennessee and Kentucky before taking a right and moving northeast through Indiana and Ohio on Wednesday morning. We do expect the storm to begin to lose strength once it makes landfall on Monday.

Some good news – because of Alberto, we could see our first full day of sunshine next week. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

In case you are wondering, a storm forming before the official start of the hurricane season is NOT an indicator that we will have a busy hurricane season. On average, we see about six to eight hurricanes a year.

Last Thursday, NOAA released its forecast for the Hurricane Season. Forecasters expect there to be 10-16 named storms. Half of those are expected to strengthen into hurricanes. One to four of those are expected to become major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher.)