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Alberto may strengthen slightly in the next several hours, but it looks like it has run out of time to transition to a fully tropical storm before it makes landfall around noon Monday on the Florida panhandle.

The first named storm of this season, Alberto is expected to strengthen as it moves up the Gulf this weekend, the National Hurricane Center said, bringing heavy rains and possible floods to Florida and much of the Southeast in the coming days.

The Mississippi Coast shouldn't see much rain from the system until Monday.

An official from the National Weather Service warns that even after Subtropical Storm Alberto passes, there's still a risk for rip currents.

Hurricane season doesn't officially begin until June 1, but Alberto apparently missed the memo.

Florida authorities urged residents to take the storm seriously and to organize water, food, medicines and other preparations. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency covering 40 counties beginning at 6 a.m. on Sunday. Phil Bryant authorized the use of the National Guard, his office said in a statement.

A storm surge watch is in effect along the US gulf coast, from Crystal River to the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Subtropical Storm Alberto heads to the US Gulf

Authorities say conditions are especially unsafe with flooding rains coming overnight and on a holiday weekend when many people have outdoor plans.

"The combination of storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded", the National Hurricane Center in Miami said. As of late Sunday night, it had 65 mph winds, and the center was roughly 100 miles south of Apalachicola, Florida.

Isolated Tornadoes are also possible with some of the stronger storms today across NCFL.

Tropical storm warnings are in effect from the Mississippi/Alabama border all the way through to Bonita Beach, Florida. "Rainfall amounts of 5 to 8 inches, and possibly locally up to double these amounts are possible in this area with this event", the NWS said. A high surf warning was in effect through 7 p.m. Tuesday local time.

Winds of up to 40 miles per hour are still possible.

A tropical storm watch is in effect for parts of MS and Alabama, meaning the conditions for a full storm are possible in the next 48 hours. A gradual strengthening was expected as the storm moves north.

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