Heavy rains were likely across western Cuba, much of Florida and the northern Gulf Coast into early next week.
Subtropical Storm Alberto - the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season - was roiling parts of coastal Mexico and Cuba with rip currents and risky surf on Friday.
Conditions above the Gulf will become more favorable for some development through the weekend as this low moves slowly north-northwest toward the north-central Gulf Coast.
The NHC predicts Alberto will have maximum winds of 65 miles per hour by Monday morning when it is approaching the coast near Mobile, Ala. and Biloxi, Miss.
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.
Subtropical Storm Alberto is the first storm of the Atlantic season, which doesn't officially start for another week. The system could be upgraded to Tropical Storm Alberto in the next day or so if the system strengthens. These rains could produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.
At 2 p.m. Friday, the storm was located 200 miles southwest of Cuba, according to the National Hurricane Center.
"There is a chance that Alberto could be a hurricane before it makes landfall", said Andrew Kennedy, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Jacksonville. We'll see the low entering the Gulf on Saturday and tracking North.
Kennedy said the farther east the storm tracks, the more impacts for Marion and Alachua counties. It's also possible Alberto will transition into a more standard tropical storm.
As people gear up for a long holiday weekend, officials are warning that the first subtropical storm of the 2018 hurricane season is expected to bring "tropical storm-force winds" and "storm surges" across the central and eastern Gulf Coast on Sunday.
Monday might start out cloudy, he said, with chance of showers later in the day.
"It's not a very strong system", she said.
The Weather Prediction Center has South Florida rain totals at above 6 inches over the next seven days. It still remains an unorganized mess as it meanders off Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula but is expected to churn northward into the Gulf of Mexico and approach Florida this weekend.
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