US Southern States Prepare for Subtropical Storm Alberto

The 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season wasted no time getting started, as Mississippi, Alabama and Florida have already begun emergency preparations ahead of Suptropical Storm Alberto.

The storm system is expected to hit land at some point during the Memorial Day Weekend, most likely on Sunday. The governors of the three states all declared a state of emergency on Saturday.

Yahoo reports Cuba has already been pelted by rain as a result of the storm, with certain areas looking at 25 total inches of rain.

The current forecast has five to 10 inches of rain hitting eastern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, western Tennessee and the western portion of Florida's panhandle. Some areas could see up to 15 inches or rain.

The storm will reportedly grow in strength until it reaches the northern Gulf Coast at some point on Monday night.

A subtropical storm, as opposed to a tropical storm or hurricane, is classified as having a cooler center than a tropical storms with its strongest winds away from the center. As a storm strengthens over the ocean, it can become a tropical storm and even a hurricane.

The next group of storm names on the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season list includes Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene and Isaac.

The 2017 hurricane season turned out to be one of the worst of the century in terms of destruction. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a report on Thursday revealing that 2018 has the potential to be just as bad. The organization predicted 10-16 named tropical storms and five to nine hurricanes. One to four of those expected hurricanes are expected to reach "major" status, becoming a Category 3 storm or higher.

"With the advances made in hardware and computing over the course of the last year, the ability of NOAA scientists to both predict the path of storms and warn Americans who may find themselves in harm's way is unprecedented," Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in the NOAA report. "The devastating hurricane season of 2017 demonstrated the necessity for prompt and accurate hurricane forecasts."

The previous season, which saw Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Texas, and Hurricane Maria decimate Puerto Rico, cost roughly $282.16 billion in damages with anywhere from 416 to 1,437 casualties.

Dr. Neil Jacobs, assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction, said the NOAA has upgraded its abilities to track and predict these upcoming storms.

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"NOAA's observational and modeling enhancements for the 2018 season put us on the path to deliver the world's best regional and global weather models," Jacobs said in the NOAA report. "These upgrades are key to improving hurricane track and intensity forecasts, allowing NOAA to deliver the best science and service to the nation."

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