MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The official start of the Atlantic hurricane season is a week away but a disturbance in the northwest Caribbean just couldn’t wait.
After watching it for days, the disturbance has strengthened into Subtropical Storm Alberto.
A subtropical storm is not a 100 percent tropical storm but it is starting to take on those characteristics.
At 11 p.m. Friday, Alberto was located about 195 miles southwest of Cuba, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm was nearly stationary and maximum sustained winds of 40 mph.
A general slow motion toward the north is expected through the weekend, followed by a northwest turn by Monday. On the forecast track, Alberto is expected to pass near the eastern coast of the Yucatan peninsula Friday night and be near the western tip of Cuba Saturday morning. It will emerge over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico by Saturday night, and approach the north-central Gulf Coast on Monday.
Gradual strengthening is forecast for the next 72 hours.
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.
Alberto is expected to produce up to 15 inches of rain, 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 accumulations 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 United 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.