Tropical Storm Alberto could form, drench Southeast over Memoria - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Tropical Storm Alberto could form, drench Southeast over Memorial Day weekend

Posted: Updated: May 24, 2018 11:33 AM
Drivers try to navigate a street where the constant rain has flooded it in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Sunday, May 20, 2018. More rain is forecast across Florida over the next few days as a tropical disturbance makes its way north into the Gulf of Mexico. Drivers try to navigate a street where the constant rain has flooded it in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Sunday, May 20, 2018. More rain is forecast across Florida over the next few days as a tropical disturbance makes its way north into the Gulf of Mexico.
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The odds of the first named storm of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season forming over the Memorial Day weekend continue to increase.

There's a 70% chance that a tropical depression forms in the Gulf of Mexico within the next two days, the National Hurricane Center said Thursday. Within the next five days, those chances jump to 90%.

If the depression's winds strengthen to 39 mph, it would become Tropical Storm Alberto.

Even if the system does not fully develop into an organized tropical system, it will continue to generate periods of heavy rainfall over parts of Florida, the Deep South and parts of the southeastern United States during the next several days, Kottlowski said.

The heavy rainfall will lead to flooding, especially in places in Florida that have already received over 10 inches of rain during the past week or so, he added.

Weather.us meteorologist Ryan Maue said to "prepare for a lot of rainfall all along the Gulf Coast beaches this weekend." Friday to Monday will be very wet, and all four days will see substantial amounts of rain, he said. He warned that a disorganized, slow-moving weak tropical low, depression or low-end storm such as this one can still cause catastrophic flooding.

With up to 15 inches of rain in the forecast, the National Weather Service said coastal counties from Mississippi to Florida are under an "extreme threat" of flooding.

The dire forecast has affected businesses along the Gulf Coast.

"We actually have had several cancellations today,' said Liz Wood, who works at the beachfront Buccaneer Inn on St. George Island, Fla. "It always gets like this when there's uncertainly over when (a storm) is going.'

Ike Williams, who owns a company that rents beach chairs, umbrellas and other gear in Gulf Shores, Ala., said workers were stowing away some items because of the forecast.

"This is probably the earliest storm that I can ever remember in the history of the business that has ever threatened this early. That's 38 years,' said Williams, of Ike's Beach Service.

The hurricane center warned of another hazard to beachgoers: The threat of rip currents will steadily increase along the Gulf coast from Florida westward to Louisiana over Memorial Day weekend.

Rip currents kill about 100 Americans each year in the U.S.

The other soggy spot for the Memorial Day weekend will be in portions of the northwestern U.S.

People spending their Memorial Day in the northern and central Rockies and Great Basin regions will have to be on the lookout for spotty afternoon thunderstorms developing over the mountains, warned AccuWeather meteorologist Jake Sojda.

The central U.S. should see hot, dry conditions through the weekend, the National Weather Service said, with high temperatures skyrocketing into the 90s as far north as the Dakotas.

Contributing: Dan DeLuca, the (Fort Myers) News Press; The Pensacola News Journal; The Associated Press

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