UPDATED: 2018 gets first named storm

Posted

UPDATE:

From the Weather Channel:

Subtropical Storm Alberto has made an eastward jog in the Gulf of Mexico as it continues to bring a threat of flash flooding, rip currents, gusty winds, coastal flooding and tornadoes to the southeastern United States this Memorial Day weekend, with the center of the storm likely making landfall along the northern Gulf Coast on Memorial Day itself.

Alberto is expected to intensify on Sunday as it moves through the eastern Gulf of Mexico, likely bringing tropical-storm-force winds to Florida's west coast Sunday afternoon and the northern Gulf Coast by Sunday evening.

Alberto's appearance is becoming more typical of what a tropical system is expected to look like, as clouds and thunderstorms are beginning to wrap counterclockwise on the northern side around Alberto's center of circulation.

Regardless of what this system is called by meteorologists, the main threat from Alberto will be heavy rain and flash flooding in the southeastern United States that could last well into the week ahead. Flash flood watches are in effect for much of the of the Southeast, lasting through Tuesday along parts of northern Gulf Coast.

Dave Matthews Band at The Wharf Amphitheater - Postponed

Due to the state of emergency declared by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey in advance of Subtropical Storm Alberto and in consultation with the City of Orange Beach officials regarding their storm preparations, the Dave Matthews Band concert scheduled for this Sunday, May 27th at The Wharf Amphitheater in Orange Beach has been postponed. A new rescheduled date and more information will be announced early next week. Tickets for the May 27th concert will be honored on the rescheduled date.

Gulf Shores officials continue to monitor Tropical Storm Alberto 

Gulf Shores, Ala – May 26, 2018 – Gulf Shores officials continue to monitor Tropical Storm Alberto as it enters the Gulf of Mexico. A Tropical Storm Watch remains in effect for our area indicating that 

tropical storm-force winds (39 mph – 73 mph) are possible within the next 36 hours. 

Travel Advisory 

For those planning to travel, please be advised that weather conditions are forecasted to deteriorate late Sunday into early Monday morning. If you are planning to travel on Monday (Memorial Day) the combination of severe weather and heavy traffic conditions could prove hazardous. You are encouraged to plan accordingly. 

Significant threat risks include: 

- Heavy rain/flooding 

- Risk of deadly rip currents and high surf 

- Coastal flooding 

- High seas and potential gale force winds over the coastal waters 

Rip currents are life-threatening to anyone entering the Gulf and emergency management officials urge the public to heed their warnings and to stay out of the water. The Beach Warning Flag System is in place for your safety. Red Flags indicate the presence of dangerous high surf and deadly rip currents; Double Red Flags indicate that it is illegal to enter the water. For more information about the beach warning flag system visit www.gulfshoresal.gov/flagsystem or call 251-968-TIDE (8433). 

Final preparations to secure your property in anticipation of the storm should be complete by noon on Sunday. 

1. Remove any debris or items in ditches. 

2. Do not impede the flow of water drainage throughout ditches and culverts. 

3. If you see excessive standing water or water on the roadways contact the Public Works Department, Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., at 251-968-1156. For after hours reports please contact 251-968-2431. 

4. Those living/staying in low lying areas should closely monitor conditions. 

Tropical Storm Watch issued for Gulf Shores 

Gulf Shores, Ala – May 25, 2018 – A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for our area as the former Subtropical Storm Alberto strengthens. A Tropical Storm Watch means (39 mph – 73 mph) tropical storm-force winds are possible within the next 48 hours. City of Gulf Shores officials are actively monitoring developments and The National Weather Service has issued a bulletin for our area through Tuesday, May 28. 

Significant threat risks include: 

- Heavy rain/flooding 

- Risk of deadly rip currents and high surf 

- Coastal flooding 

- High seas and potential gale force winds over the coastal waters 

Rip currents are life-threatening to anyone entering the Gulf and emergency management officials urge the public to heed their warnings and to stay out of the water. The Beach Warning Flag System is in place for your safety. Red Flags indicate the presence of dangerous high surf and deadly rip currents; Double Red Flags indicate that it is illegal to enter the water. For more information about the beach warning flag system visit www.gulfshoresal.gov/flagsystem or call 251-968-TIDE (8433). 

Please keep the following in mind throughout the heavy rainfall: 

1. Please do not place any debris or items in ditches. 

2. Do not impede the flow of water drainage throughout ditches and culverts. 

3. If you see excessive standing water or water on the roadways contact the Public Works Department, Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., at 251-968-1156. For after-hours reports please contact 251-968-2431. 

4. Those living/staying in low lying areas should closely monitor conditions.   

A limited amount of free sand for sand bags is available in the parking lot to the north of the Eire H. Meyer Civic Center located at 1930 W. 2nd St. Sand bags and shovels are not provided, but may be purchased at local hardware and home improvement stores. 

City officials urge residents to get a preparedness plan in place if they haven’t already done so. For resources to create your personal preparedness plan visit www.gulfshoresal.gov/safe. To receive weather alerts issued by the City of Gulf Shores sign up at www.gulfshoresal.gov and click ‘Notify Me.’ Citizens can select email and/or text alerts. 

 

For the latest updates and advisories on the potential weather situation for Gulf Shores and the surrounding areas monitor your local media outlets, personal weather radios, or the National Weather Service at www.weather.gov/mob and continue to follow the City of Gulf Shores on Facebook (www.facebook.com/cityofgulfshoresal) and Twitter (@City_GulfShores) and monitor the City’s website at www.gulfshoresal.gov or call the Emergency Information line at 251-968-2425. 

Baldwin EMC prepares for Subtropical Storm Alberto

(SUMMERDALE, Ala.) – Baldwin EMC staff and employees have been closely watching Subtropical Storm Alberto as he moves toward the Gulf Coast. With high winds and flash flooding a possibility, the cooperative is ready to respond to widespread outages, should they occur.

“We have a disaster emergency plan in place and in action,” said cooperative spokesperson Mark Ingram. “We want to assure our members we are prepared should Subtropical Storm Alberto reach our service area.” 

According to Ingram, Baldwin EMC officials are monitoring the storm around the clock. Baldwin EMC has extra crews on standby prepared to respond should the area experience widespread outages.

Baldwin EMC staff would like to remind their members to keep abreast of the storm’s development and take safety precautions in the event Subtropical Storm Alberto affects Baldwin County.

For the most up-to-date outage information, follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/BaldwinEMC/), Instagram (instagram.com/baldwinemc) and Twitter (twitter.com/baldwinemc) or visit www.baldwinemc.com.

ORIGINAL STORY:

What the National Hurricane Center and other meteorologists had been eyeing called Invest 90L was reclassified Subtropical Storm Alberto Friday morning. 

Regardless of its track and intensity, Alberto is expected to produce heavy rainfall and flash flooding over the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula of Mexica, western Cuba, southern Florida and the Florida Keys. Rainfall and flooding potential will increase across the central Gulf Coast region and the southeastern United States later this weekend and early next week when Alberto is expected to slow down after it moves inland.

Alberto could bring tropical storm conditions and storm surge to portions of the central and eastern Gulf Coast later this weekend and early next week, although it is too soon to specify the exact location and magnitude of these impacts. Residents in these areas should monitor the progress of Alberto, as tropical storm and storm surge watches may be required later today or tonight. 

Dangerous surf and rip current conditions are affecting portions of the Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba and will likely spread along the eastern and central United States Gulf Coast later this weekend.

An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter Aircraft is scheduled to investigate Alberto later this afternoon and provide more information on the storm's structure and intensity.

Ken Grimes, City Administrator for Orange Beach, said the city is following the weather closely with crews on hand. He said the city will be pushing out notifications about any roads closed due to flooding, but those efforts are led by ALDOT. 

“It’s always good to warn people and tell them to be weather alert,” Grimes said. “When you have nice weather like this and you know bad weather is coming in, don’t wait until it is pouring down rain to secure your belongings. If you know you have a boat and a lift and you’re expecting two feet of water- that’s the thing you can have no rain and still have rising water- they need to accommodate their lifts.”

Mike Seidel of The Weather Channel said at this point you can pretty much bet on plenty of heavy rain, surf conditions with heavy rip currents. 

“Nothing has really changed a lot since yesterday except now we do have a named storm, albeit subtropical,” Seidel said. “It’s supposed to intensify some before it gets to this area earlier next week. We’re still three days out from any sort of landfall.”

With the storm threatening the fun-in-the-sun many were anticipating for Memorial Day weekend, the dreaded word around the island is “cancellations.”

Grimes said conditions like these can make some vacationers skittish, but this is a particularly beach-oriented holiday.

“There’s always the risk of someone cancelling because of forecasts, but it’s Memorial Day weekend,” Grimes said. “You’ve got a whole dynamic of people who are going to do their best to enjoy it because they’ve already got the vacation time from work. If they’ve already booked, it’s harder to pull back.” 

He said the city doesn’t look at it from the standpoint of losing revenue because they always kind plan in the budgets for storm issues that come up, adding the forecast can hurt you as much as the real weather. 

“The most important thing to me is the surf conditions,” Grimes said. “If we get to the point and both cities have to put up double red flags to close the water, that means water is closed to swimming. It doesn’t mean the beach is closed.”

Seidel said rip currents are a very real threat, even if the surf today doesn’t show it.

“You’re not going to get any noticeable difference in the water until you get closer to late tomorrow or early Sunday,” Seidel said. “They have the high surf advisory, coastal flood watch going into effect later tomorrow. Eventually the waves will pick up. I think they’re saying it could be five-footers. The surf will become rougher as the waves propagate onshore.” 

Grimes said yesterday many appointed and elected officials were in an emergency management meeting that coincidentally had been arranged a month ago.

“The emergency management people are more than likely talking about the latest forecasts, the latest updates and they’re watching the webinars every four hours,” Grimes said. “That’s where we then will get the information. I think we’re probably more weather prepared here than most people are in the inland communities. I think a lot of people don’t prepare. We’re always involved in trying to make sure we’re ready, prepared and we’re going to move forward.”

Seidel suggested locals and vacationers alike keep an eye on The Weather Channel for now and to remember that the storm is still days from landfall.

“Are the odds zero for it becoming a minimal hurricane? No, not zero,” Seidel said. “You have to factor low-end odds on a minimal hurricane. Right now, they’re forecasting a strong tropical storm, but it could come in weaker or it could come in stronger. It’s just so far out.” 

Early-season storms

Thursday, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center announced it is forecasting a 75-percent chance that the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, which extends from June 1 to November 30, will be near- or above-normal. 

“With the advances made in hardware and computing over the course of the last year, the ability of NOAA scientists to both predict the path of storms and warn Americans who may find themselves in harm’s way is unprecedented,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The devastating hurricane season of 2017 demonstrated the necessity for prompt and accurate hurricane forecasts.”

NOAA’s forecasters predict a 70-percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which five to nine could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including one to four major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes. 

"Preparing ahead of a disaster is the responsibility of all levels of government, the private sector and the public," said acting FEMA Deputy Administrator Daniel Kaniewski. "It only takes one storm to devastate a community so now is the time to prepare. Do you have adequate insurance, including flood insurance? Does your family have a communication and evacuation plan? Stay tuned to your local news and download the FEMA app to get alerts, and make sure you heed any warnings issued by local officials.”

Seidel said having a named storm is unusual for May, but not unheard of. He also said it is no basis for panic on the rest of the year.

“I think we actually had a land-falling tropical storm in May three years ago in South Carolina,” Seidel said. “Just because we’re having a tropical storm before the season starts, that has absolutely no bearing on the rest of the season. It being 90 degrees in March, early storms, whatever you want to say- it’s not any indicator for how the season will go."