GULF SHORES, Fla. – While most of the United States is observing Memorial Day, Gulf Coast states are bracing for an early start to hurricane season.
Although Alberto has been rated a subtropical storm, falling short of the hurricane designation, its being called the first storm of the year. When the storm makes landfall May 28, it will be four days ahead of the official start to hurricane season on June 1.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued an emergency declaration for the coastal areas of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Texas.
Florida governor Rick Scott has issued an emergency declaration for all of Florida’s counties, with evacuation orders for Franklin, Gulf, and Taylor counties as the storm rockets north.
Heavy rains and winds in excess of 100 kilometers (kms) per hour are expected throughout the Gulf states, with winds already reaching speeds of more than 185 kms per hour outside of Panama City, Fla.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) is warning that flash floods are possible. Mississippi and Georgia could see up to 30cm of rain. Storm swells also threaten low-lying coastal areas, with the potential for water levels to rise up to 1.2 meters (four ft).
The NHC says tornadoes are also possible during the storm.
Those traveling through the area are advised to take care.