Alberto, the first named storm of 2018, got an early jump on the Atlantic hurricane season. Subtropical Storm Alberto rumbled inland Monday after its Memorial Day strike on the U.S. Gulf Coast, driving holiday weekend beachgoers away as heavy rains began pelting wide areas of the Southeast amid a rising flood threat.
Forecasters warned that downpours from the vast system of swirling storm bands now raise the danger of flash flooding across several Southern states in coming hours and days. Alberto's ragged core made landfall near Laguna Beach in the Florida Panhandle on Monday afternoon before it began crawling inland.
Between four and eight inches (10-25 centimeters) of rain could pummel Florida Panhandle, eastern and central Alabama, and western Georgia before the storm moves on. Isolated deluges of 12 inches (30 centimeters) also were possible. Forecasters said Alberto could become a subtropical depression in coming hours as it treks northward. The system is then expected to spread rains over the Tennessee Valley on Tuesday and push later in the week into the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes region.
Rough conditions were still whipping up big waves off the eastern and northern Gulf Coast by nightfall Monday. Authorities spent the day warning swimmers to keep out of the surf because of life-threatening swells and rip currents.