Florida declares state of emergency as storm Alberto approaches

May 26 (Reuters) - Florida Governor Rick Scott on Saturday declared a state of emergency as subtropical storm Alberto moves north towards the U.S. Gulf Coast, threatening to bring heavy rainfall and flooding by Monday, according to officials.

All 67 Florida counties have issued the notice to give state and local governments enough time and resources to prepare, Scott said in a statement.

"As we continue to monitor Subtropical Storm Alberto's northward path toward Florida, it is critically important that all Florida counties have every available resource to keep families safe and prepare for the torrential rain and severe flooding this storm will bring," Scott said.

The storm is expected to approach the U.S. northern Gulf Coast on the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, according to the latest National Weather Service (NWS) advisory. A tropical storm watch is in place from the New Orleans area to the Aucilla River in the Florida panhandle.

RELATED: Storm Alberto makes its way to the US

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Storm Alberto makes its way to the US
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Storm Alberto makes its way to the US
A general view shows an empty beach as subtropical storm Alberto approaches Cancun, Mexico May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Israel Leal
A general view shows an empty beach as subtropical storm Alberto approaches Cancun, Mexico May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Israel Leal
Tourists pack their things to enter the hotel as subtropical storm Alberto approaches Cancun, Mexico May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Israel Leal
Tourists are seen at a beach as subtropical storm Alberto approaches Cancun, Mexico May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Israel Leal
A general view shows an empty beach as subtropical storm Alberto approaches Cancun, Mexico May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Israel Leal
A tourist is seen at the beach as subtropical storm Alberto approaches Cancun, Mexico May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Israel Leal
Tourists stand on a rock as subtropical storm Alberto approaches Cancun, Mexico May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Israel Leal
Dalma Samora, 14, walks against the winds of Subtropical Storm Alberto as it passes by the west coast of Cuba, in La Palma, Cuba, May 26, 2018. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
A man rides a bicycle down a flooded road as Subtropical Storm Alberto passes by the west coast of Cuba, in Bahia Honda, Cuba, May 26, 2018. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
A view of a partially flooded farm as Subtropical Storm Alberto passes by the west coast of Cuba, in Bahia Honda, Cuba, May 26, 2018. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
Dark clouds kept most beach goers away Friday, May 25, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. A flood watch is expected for South Florida on Saturday morning as a result of Subtropical Storm Alberto. (Carline Jean/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Alicia Herrera, 10, visiting from Germany doesn't let dark clouds ruin her day at beach Friday, May 25, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. A flood watch is expected for South Florida on Saturday morning as a result of Subtropical Storm Alberto. (Carline Jean/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Andrea Minz and Hans Jonen, who are visiting from Germany, walk along A1A Friday, May 25, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. A flood watch is expected for South Florida on Saturday morning as a result of Subtropical Storm Alberto. (Carline Jean/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
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Alberto, the first named storm of the 2018 Hurricane season, was moving north near 10 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds near 40 miles per hour (65 km/h) with higher gusts on Saturday, the NWS said. Gradual strengthening is forecast until the system reaches the northern Gulf Coast by Monday night.

Heavy rains from the slow-moving storm were expected between 5 to 10 inches (13-25 cm), with up to 15 inches possible along from eastern Louisiana, across much of Mississippi, Alabama, western Tennessee and the western Florida panhandle, the NWS said.

Alberto's projected storm track has shifted eastward since Friday, lessening its threat to the active oil production areas in the Gulf of Mexico. Royal Dutch Shell plc and Exxon Mobil had evacuated some personnel from offshore Gulf oil facilities on Friday.

The storm on Saturday morning was last located about 20 miles (35 km) south of the western tip of Cuba and 250 miles (400 km) south-south west of the Dry Tortugas, which is almost 70 miles (113 km) west of Key West, Florida, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC). (Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Additional reporting by Gary McWilliams in Houston; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

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