(AP) – Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for all 67 counties ahead of Subtropical Storm Alberto.
Scott made the announcement on Saturday morning.
At a briefing at the state emergency operations center in Tallahassee, authorities urged Floridians to take the storm seriously.
Wes Maul, the state’s emergency management director, said timing of the storm is uncertain, but the entire state will feel the effects. Swelling riverbanks, tornadoes and localized flooding are possible.
A storm moving slowly through the Caribbean Sea is threatening to bring heavy rainfall, mudslides, and flash floods to parts of Mexico, Cuba, Florida and the U.S. Gulf Coast this weekend.
Subtropical Storm Alberto – the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season – was continued roiling toward parts of coastal Mexico and Cuba with rip currents and dangerous surf on Saturday. Both countries issued tropical storm watches for portions of their coastlines, with rain totals in some isolated areas of up to 25 inches.
U.S. forecasters followed suit by issuing a tropical storm watch for parts of the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle southwest of Tallahassee to the New Orleans metropolitan area.
At 5 a.m. EDT, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Alberto was moving north-northeastward toward the Yucatan Channel and was centered about 95 miles (105 kilometers) southeast of Cozumel, Mexico. Its top sustained winds were 40 mph (65 kph). A gradual strengthening was expected through the weekend as it moves north.
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