Sun-day stays mostly dry; Alberto's effects arrive for Memorial Day

Posted May 26, 2018 10:20 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 2:08 p.m. EDT

— The chance for showers and even thunderstorms on Sunday is a slight 20 percent, with most of the rain activity staying to the north of the Triangle, WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said.

"It's quite possible that most of us could remain dry with just some thick, upper level clouds giving us dim sunshine at times," Maze said. "The bottom line is that Sunday is not likely to be a washout."

Central North Carolina will see partly to mostly cloudy skies with an afternoon high temperature in the upper 80s.

The story changes for Monday, however, when North Carolina will begin to feel the tropical moisture pushed up from the Gulf of Mexico by Subtropical Storm Alberto.

At 11 p.m. EDT Saturday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Alberto was just off the western tip of Cuba and moving north-northeast at 13 mph (20 kph). The storm had top sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph) and was expected to strengthen as it moves over the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Alberto is on a path across the Gulf Coast of Florida and due north, with the greater impact likely in the mountains of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee.

That doesn't mean the Triangle is out of the woods, however.

"Both the American (GFS) model and the European Model suggest that Memorial Day could see considerable rainfall and it is likely to be heavy," Maze said.

The rain will keep temperatures lower on Monday, likely only in the high 70s.

Alberto — the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season that officially starts June 1 — is expected to strengthen until it reaches the northern Gulf Coast, likely on Monday night. After making landfall, the storm will slowly make its way across the southeast, dumping up to 4 inches of rain along the way.

Heavy downpours were expected to begin lashing parts of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on Sunday. Tropical storm warnings have been issued for parts of Florida and Alabama, saying tropical storm conditions are possible there by early Monday.

The governors of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi all declared states of emergency ahead of the storm Saturday.

A subtropical storm like Alberto 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.

"We have another day to go and many computer model runs to look at before we get to Monday," Maze said.