Sunday 15 December, 2019

Alberto, first tropical storm for the season, forms, heads for Florida

The first tropical storm of the season, Alberto, has formed near Cuba and Mexico and appears to be heading for Florida. 

According to an update from the US National Hurricane Center (NHC), the sub-tropical storm was located about 55 miles (90km) south of Cosumel, Mexico and about 195 miles (315km) southwest of the western tip of Cuba. 

At 10:00 am Friday the storm had maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (65 km/hr) and was travelling north-north-east at six miles per hour. The storm has a minimum central pressure of 1005mb.

Heavy rainfall is expected to affect the Yucatan Peninsula, as well as western Cuba, Florida and the northeastern Gulf Coast over the weekend.

Watches and warnings

The Government of Mexico has issued a Tropical Storm Watch for the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula from Tulum to Cabo Catoche.

The Government of Cuba has issued a Tropical Storm Watch for the western Cuban province of Pinar del Rio.

Summary of watches and warnings in effect:

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for...

* Tulum to Cabo Catoche Mexico

* Cuban province of Pinar del Rio

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, in this case within the next 24 hours.

Interests along the central and eastern U.S. Gulf Coast should monitor the progress of Alberto. Tropical storm and storm surge watches could be required for portions of this area later today or tonight.

For storm information specific to your area, please monitor products issued by your national meteorological service.

Discussion and outlook

At 1000 AM CDT (1500 UTC), the center of Subtropical Storm Alberto was located near latitude 19.7 North, longitude 86.8 West. The storm is moving toward the north-northeast near 6 mph (9 km/h). A general slow motion toward the north is expected through the weekend, followed by a northwest turn by Monday.

On the foreast track, Alberto is expected to pass near the eastern coast of the Yucatan peninsula on Friday, be near the western tip of Cuba Saturday morning, emerge over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico by Saturday night, and approach the north-central Gulf Coast on Monday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph (65 km/h) with higher gusts. Gradual strengthening is forecast for the next 72 hours.

Winds of 40 mph extend outward up to 115 miles (185 km) from the center.

The estimated minimum central pressure is 1005 mb (29.68 inches).

Hazards affecting land

RAINFALL:  Alberto is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 15 inches with isolated totals of 25 inches across the northeastern portions of the Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba.

These rains could produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. Rainfall accmumulations of 4 to 8 inches with maximum amounts of 12 inches are possible across the Florida Keys and southern and southwestern Florida.  Heavy rain will likely begin to affect the central Gulf Coast region and the southeastern Untied States later this weekend and continue into early next week.

Flooding potential will increase across this region early next week as Alberto is forecast to slow down after it moves inland.

WIND:  Tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area through Saturday.

SURF:  Swells generated by Alberto are affecting portions of the coast of eastern Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba.  These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.  Hazardous surf conditions are likely to develop along much of the central and eastern U.S. Gulf Coast this weekend. For more information, consult products from your local weather office.

The next advisory will be issued at 4:00 pm Friday.


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