Spotty downpours mar Saturday for some
Posted May 26, 2018 9:14 a.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 11:13 a.m. EDT
Look for steamy, seasonally appropriate weather throughout Memorial Day weekend with the chance for hit-and-miss showers.
Heavy downpours broken up by sunny skies marked the afternoon in Raleigh, where eight teams were competing in four high school state championship soccer games. Two games were complete before lightning in the area forced a delay.
"We expect these showers to linger into the evening hours, so keep your umbrella handy," said WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze.
There is a 40 percent chance of wet weather through about 10 p.m. The outlook is for cloudy skies through Sunday, but with a lower chance for rain, only about 20 percent.
Morning fog and low clouds were blamed for the cancellation of the early Saturday morning balloon launches at this year's Freedom Ballon Fest.
Organizers said their staff were monitoring the weather to decide if the evening balloon flights would go on as planned.
Under mostly sunny skies, Saturday's temperatures reached the mid-80s, and with humidity factored in, the heat index measured 88 degrees at in downtown Raleigh.
Sunday will be about the same, and the chance for thunderstorms increases as the sun goes down.
Subtropical storm Alberto is forecast to come ashore next week along the Gulf Coast near the Alabama-Florida state line and bring winds of about 60 miles per hour. WRAL meteorologist Mike Moss said the storm moisture from Alberto could interact with a front near the coast of North Carolina on Sunday and Monday and dump 2-4 inches of precipitation on the Tar Heel state. The Triangle could see up to an inch-and-a-half of wet weather from the system during that same time frame, Moss said.
Subtropical Storm Alberto - the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season - was roiling parts of coastal Mexico and Cuba with rip currents and dangerous surf on Saturday. Both countries issued tropical storm watches for portions of their coastlines, with rain totals in some isolated areas of up to 25 inches.
U.S. forecasters followed suit by issuing a tropical storm watch for parts of the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle southwest of Tallahassee to the New Orleans metropolitan area.
At 5 p.m. EDT, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Alberto was moving north at 13 mph through the Yucatan Channel and was northeast of Cancun. Its top sustained winds were 40 mph (65 kph). A gradual strengthening was expected through the weekend as it moves north.
The U.S. was expected to start feeling Alberto's effects Saturday. The hurricane center said up to 12 inches of rain was possible across the Florida Keys and southern and southwestern Florida. Residents in the storm's expected path were advised to monitor the storm's progress.
"Flooding potential will increase across this region early next week as Alberto is forecast to slow down after it moves inland," the hurricane center said.
The National Weather Service said a flash flood watch would be in effect from Saturday evening through Tuesday evening for southeastern Mississippi, southwestern Alabama, and the western Florida Panhandle. A storm surge watch was also issued for parts of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.
A subtropical storm has a less defined and cooler center than a tropical storm, and its strongest winds are found farther from its center. Subtropical storms can develop into tropical storms, which in turn can strengthen into hurricanes. Alberto comes ahead of schedule: the six-month hurricane season doesn't begin until June 1.
Parts of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana have already seen heavy rain this week, and further deluges could leave those areas vulnerable to flash flooding and river flooding. Some beachfront and riverfront communities are already handing out sandbags.
The downpours could dampen Memorial Day, the unofficial start of the summer tourist season along Gulf beaches. Along with heavy rains and high winds come rough seas and a threat of rip currents from Florida to Louisiana that can sweep swimmers out to sea.