Jim Caldwell's Forecast | Tropical rains keep coming


Subtropical Storm Alberto weakened as it neared landfall on the Florida Panhandle on Monday, a day after flooding from another storm tore through a historic Maryland town and swept away a would-be rescuer, officials said.

Subtropical Storm Alberto continued its slow approach to the Emerald Coast on Monday for a possible landfall in the afternoon or evening, weather forecasters said.

Subtropical storm Alberto fizzled into a subtropical depression as it rolled into Alabama on Tuesday but forecasters warned of potentially unsafe flash floods even as winds dropped to 30 miles per hour (48 km per hour). The storm that sprang from warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico was now a vast, soggy system as it headed inland, dumping heavy rains in bursts all around the region.

Forecasters warned heavy rain, flash flooding and risky surf posed the biggest threats as Alberto's ragged core made landfall near Laguna Beach in the Florida Panhandle.

McCormick and Smeltzer had just interviewed Tryon Fire Chief Geoffrey Tennant as they covered storms in North Carolina.

Showers and storms should start pushing out of the metro area, but this break won't last for long.

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We will have to watch the far eastern side of Alabama today once we get a little heating and the atmosphere destabilizes because storms that form could produce strong wind gusts or even spin up tornadoes. Isolated maximum totals of 12 inches are possible over the Florida Panhandle and Alabama.

Yet those in Tampa Bay breathed a sigh of relief Monday as the storms changes allowed many Memorial Day celebrations to continue as planned. We'll still carry a flash flood watch through the day today with the heavy shower or thunderstorm chance over saturated areas from Alberto's rains yesterday.

Alberto is expected to drop 4 to 6 inches of rain along the Gulf Coast, with some places getting as much as a foot. A tropical storm warning remained in effect stretching from Florida's Suwannee River to the border of Alabama and Mississippi. The former Californian and now Gulf Breeze resident said she's used to bigger waves and made sure to take precautions that included using her board leash.

Alberto dumped between 2 and 5 inches of rain over parts of the Florida Panhandle, according to the National Weather Service. One to four hurricanes could be "major" with sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour. Gusty showers began lashing parts of Florida on Sunday, and authorities warned of the possibility of flash flooding.

If that forecast holds, it would make for a near-normal or above-normal season.