7 P.M. UPDATE

Tropical storm warnings for Okaloosa County and westward were dropped Monday night as a weakening Subtropical Storm Alberto moved out of the area.

In its 7 p.m. advisory the National Hurricane Center said the center of Alberto was about 15 miles north of DeFuniak Springs and was moving north at 10 mph. Winds had decreased to 40 mph and it was likely Alberto would be downgraded to a subtropical depression later in the evening.

Alberto is expected to drop heavy rains as it moves through Alabama and into the Tennesse Valley. Locally, the potential for flash floods is still in effect.

The National Weather Service office in Mobile is calling for a 100 percent chance of rain tonight with possible flooding rains as thunderstorms continue to move through the area. Winds gusting to 25 mph are also possible.

 

 4 p.m. UPDATE 

Alberto is currently making landfall at Laguna Beach near the Walton and Bay county line, according to a report from the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

 

Subtropical Storm Alberto has maximum sustained winds of 45 mph and is moving north at 9 mph. It is forecast to make a faster northern path in the coming days.

The estimated minimum central pressure is 994 mb.

Heavy rain and flash flooding is occurring over parts of the Panhandle.

A flash-flood warning is in effect for the Northwest Florida area until 8:45 p.m. Monday. A flash flood watch is in effect until 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The National Weather Service in Tallahassee has issued a flood warning for the Shoal River near Mossy Head (CR 1087) from Tuesday morning, or until the warning is cancelled.

As of 4:30 p.m. the shelter at Davidson Middle School in Okaloosa County has closed

Rain is forecast for all of Northwest Florida through Tuesday morning.

 

 

ORIGINAL STORY

Subtropical Storm Alberto continued its slow approach to the Emerald Coast on Monday for a possible landfall in the afternoon or evening, weather forecasters said.

 

In its 7 a.m. advisory the National Hurricane Center said Alberto was at latitude 29.0 north, longitude 86.0 west, or south of the Panama City Beach area. The storm was moving north at 6 mph with winds that remained at 65 mph. The barometric pressure was 991mb.

The Hurricane Center said the storm would continue moving north to north-northwest and cross the Florida Panhandle coast sometime Monday afternoon or evening. No significant changes in strength were expected.

Winds of 40 mph extend 105 miles out from the center. An elevated observing station about 15 miles south of Apalachicola recorded a sustained wind of 46 mph this morning, and a wind gust of 39 mph was observed in Apalachicola. Tropical storm-force winds are expected to spread across our area today.

Forecasters say the Florida Panhandle can expect between 4 and 8 inches of rain from Alberto, and a storm surge of anywhere from 2 to 4 feet. High surf will remain a threat along local beaches and the danger of rip currents will exist until conditions calm down.

Also, it’s possible Alberto’s rain bands could produce the occasional tornado.

A tropical storm warning remains in effect for Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties, as does a storm surge watch. A flash flood watch is also in effect.

ORIGINAL STORY

Even with subtropical storm Alberto heading for the Panhandle, most locals and visitors alike were not letting it spoil their Memorial Day weekend on Sunday.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Ryan Rogers said the storm would be "coming very close to shore" around 8 a.m. Monday and make landfall around noon.

"The main impact will be heavy rain, but our biggest concern is the rip currents," Rogers said Sunday afternoon. "Even after the storm, the swells are still traveling our direction creating rip currents. We're doing our best to get that message out."

According to the National Weather Service's update at 4 p.m. Sunday, the storm was traveling at 12 miles per hour and turned slightly northwest on a more direct path toward Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties with no change in strength. An Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft found stronger winds in Alberto of about 65 mph Sunday night.

On Sunday afternoon, the crowds were out at the beaches despite the double red flags. While the water was closed to the public, a few took their boards out to the waves. Some kept close to the shore, just getting ankle deep.

Alexis Trefry spent her morning on Navarre Beach surfing the waves. The former Californian and now Gulf Breeze resident said she's used to bigger waves and made sure to take precautions that included using her board leash.

"This is kind of a California-size wave out here," she said. "I thought, 'Hmm ... I'm gonna do what I can out here.'"

Janet Rhumes of Kansas and a group of friends had planned their Memorial Day vacation on Navarre Beach since October. The impending storm didn't stop them.

"We've never seen one (storm) before and we're here celebrating a friend's 20th birthday," Rhumes said. "So how often can you say you rode a storm out? We were on the beach Friday and Saturday and we'll make the most of today."

Rhumes said they've already prepared for the storm by stocking up on groceries.

"We're going to play cards and if there's a break, we'll head down to the beach," she said. "We'll hang out and see how it goes."

It was a similar scene on Okaloosa Island with double-red flags and still a small number of folks trying to catch a wave on surf, boogie or skim boards.

Michele Turner of Kentucky closely watched her daughter and granddaughter splash around the shoreline. She said the two were not allowed to get much further than their ankles.

"We knew it was coming but thought we'd at least get a few good days in," she said. "We come here every year, it's beautiful out today."

Turner said she's not so frightened by a storm, even if it's subtropical. If the weather is bad, they can go out to eat or watch the beach from their condo.

"I lived in San Diego," she said. "We had earthquakes."

There were multiple Memorial Day cancellations, and Gulf Power said it had crews on standby to deal with power outages.

Tweets by NHC_Atlantic


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