State News

Tropical storm Alberto expected to stay offshore

Posted May 21, 2012

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— Spinning off the coast of Florida, Tropical Storm Alberto is expected to turn northward Monday night but will likely just pass by the North Carolina coast.

"This Alberto is probably going to do nothing but bring us some rip current danger along the coast," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. "It's a very weak storm. Its path will actually keep it well off the coast of North Carolina."

Alberto had maximum sustained winds near 40 mph early Monday, with little change in strength expected. The storm was centered about 100 miles east-northeast of St. Augustine, Fla. Tropical Storm Alberto forecast Tropical Storm Alberto forecast

Alberto is moving south-southeast near 5 mph but is expected to turn northeastward Monday night and Tuesday. On its current track, Alberto will pass by North Carolina during the day Tuesday and be north of the Virginia border early Wednesday.

Swimmers should be on the look out for stronger than normal rip tides, particularly north of Cape Lookout. Gardner said that damaging winds will likely stay far out in the Atlantic, and the system might not even be a tropical storm by Tuesday afternoon.

"It's just brushing by the coast of North Carolina but not coming onshore and not really strengthening anymore, so it should not be a big issue for us here," she said.

Alberto is the year's first tropical storm in the Atlantic Ocean. Hurricane season doesn't officially begin until June 1.

Late spring gets warm in NC

Meanwhile, the Triangle and central North Carolina can expect fairly normal late-spring weather this week.

Monday will see a high in the upper 70s to low 80s, partly to mostly cloudy skies and a small chance for scattered showers and storms during the afternoon and evening.

"That storm chance goes way up on Tuesday" – between 60 and 80 percent during the afternoon and evening, Gardner said.

Fairly similar weather will prevail Wednesday and Thursday: more clouds than sun and the potential for late-day showers and storms. The rain chances will dry up Friday.

Temperatures will rise steadily throughout the week. The daily high will reach into the mid 80s by mid-week and be flirting with the 90-degree mark by the weekend.

"If you're ready to jump into the pool, the lake, the beach, all that summer type stuff on Memorial Day weekend, right now it looks like the weather will cooperate," Gardner said.

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