Tropical storm watches were issued for eastern Yucatan Peninsula and the western tip of Cuba. 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.
In the agency's latest update at 6:30 a.m. Friday, meteorologists said satellite images and surface observations indicate that the low pressure system, which is now located over the northwestern Caribbean Sea just east of the Yucatan Peninsula, has become better defined overnight, and thunderstorm activity has also increased and become better organized. Gov. Rick Scott issued an advisory Thursday that said it's "absolutely critical that every Florida family is fully prepared for potential impacts" during the Memorial Day weekend from the brewing storm.
The National Weather Service added that there will be "widespread showers and isolated thunderstorms over all of west-central and southwest Florida through the upcoming holiday weekend with locally heavy rains and flooding likely". The system could be upgraded to Tropical Storm Alberto in the next day or so if the system strengthens.
Torrential rain, flooding and thunderstorms are likely across the Caribbean, the Gulf states and southern USA states even if a tropical storm does not materialise.
A storm system will be approaching the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday.
Dr Rick Knabb, a hurricane expert at the Weather Channel, said the 50 percent odds are a reasonable forecast for Florida since the Euro and GFS weather trackers do not agree on storm development.
Heavy rain will be the biggest threat from Invest 90-L for the Tampa Bay area.
When you break it all down, get ready for more rain over the next seven to ten days.
Models show the storm making landfall along the north Gulf Coast between the Florida Panhandle and Louisiana.
Even though South Florida is not in the projected path of Alberto, the region is on the east side - the wettest side - of the storm. Expect a few more clouds by the afternoon hours. Alberto has a less defined and cooler center than a tropical storm, and its strongest winds can be seen farther from its center.
Inside city limits, the average now stands at $3.39, compared with $3.29 a week ago and $2.57 at the same point in 2017. Travel by train, bus, rail and cruise ship will increase by 1 percent, AAA said.
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