One week before the start of Hurricane Season, we have our first named storm Alberto. Earlier this morning, the National Hurricane Center named it.
As of 5 p.m. Friday, the National Weather Service issued a Tropical Storm Watch for parts of the Gulf Coast including Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and portions of Florida. As of right now, GA and SC do not have any watches or warnings associated with Alberto.
The storm right now isn’t moving that much off the coast of the southern Mexico. However, by tomorrow it is expected to slowly make its way north toward the Deep South.
Right now, we don’t know exactly where the eye of the storm will hit. Some models say Mississippi, other models show Alberto moving slightly more east over Alabama. However, I’m confident that sometime between Monday and Tuesday, it will make landfall somewhere along the Gulf Coast. From there, I expect that Alberto will continue northward before making a right turn over Northern Alabama or potentially Nashville area and moving northeast.
I don’t anticipate any severe weather in our area. However, Sunday and Monday, you could see heavy amounts of rain. We could also see an increase in wind speeds, but I don’t anticipate any strong gusts of winds that could knock out power. However, some spots may see some flooding. Rain chances Sunday afternoon and evening are 80% and we could see final rain amounts around 2 inches. If you’re heading out to the beach, be careful of the rip currents and increases in wave heights.
Despite Alberto's slow progress, I don’t expect any day of the Memorial Day weekend to be a washout. Remember that torrential downpours tend to last for a couple of minutes before drier weather takes over. So if you do have outdoor plans on Sunday and Monday, just make sure you have alternative place to go when the rain showers or thunderstorms move in.
Some good news – because of Alberto, we could see our first full day of sunshine the week of June 5th. 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.
Just yesterday, 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.)