Thousands evacuate as Storm Alberto churns toward Florida

Thousands evacuate as Storm Alberto churns toward Florida

The slow-moving system is expected to pack heavy rains and winds over the Memorial Day weekend.

States of emergency were declared in Florida, Alabama and MS on Saturday as upwards of 15 inches of rain is forecast for the national Memorial Day weekend holiday.

Florida Governor Rick Scott issued an emergency notice for all of the state's 67 counties. In Mississippi, Gov. Phil Bryant said on Twitter that he has signed an emergency proclamation to make the National Guard and other resources available.

On Friday morning, the agency announced that an area of low pressure in the Caribbean had developed into Subtropical Storm Alberto with maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour.

Subtropical Storm Alberto continued to track toward the Gulf Coast on Sunday.

He said in a tweet he made the declaration "to ensure our state has the resources they need to keep their families safe and prepare for the torrential rain and severe flooding Subtropical Storm Alberto will bring".

The National Weather Service in Tallahassee, Fla., which covers southeast Alabama, said heavy rain and flooding will be the main concerns as Alberto closes in.

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for ...

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The Alabama and Florida Gulf Coast are under a tropical storm warning as Alberto approaches the northern part of the Gulf of Mexico.

"If you are in an area under a storm surge watch or warning and have not heard whether or not you should evacuate, contact your local emergency management and leave today according to their instructions", Knabb said.

Isolated tornadoes were possible across the region on Sunday and Monday.

"This is jogging more to the east and will hit the Florida panhandle", said NWS Weather Prediction Center's Patrick Burke, cited by Reuters. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

In a live video on Facebook, National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham gave updates on the storm Sunday morning.

Wednesday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms.

The National Hurricane Center dropped the lingering Tropical Storm Warning for the northern half of Longboat Key and Tampa Bay in its 5 p.m. bulletin.

Storm Alberto is now 120 miles south of Apalachicola, in Florida, and is due to make landfall along the Panhandle part of the state at about 4pm (8pm BST) today, according to the US National Hurricane Centre.