By Caribbean News Now contributor
MIAMI, USA — Pre-season subtropical storm Alberto has formed over the northwestern Caribbean Sea and heavy rainfall is expected to affect the Yucatan peninsula and western Cuba through the weekend.
According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, at 11:00 am EDT on Friday, the centre of Alberto was located about 55 miles (90 km) south of Cozumel, Mexico, and about 195 miles (315 km) southwest of the western tip of Cuba.
The storm is moving toward the north-northeast near 6 mph (9 km/h). A general slow motion toward the north is expected through the weekend, followed by a northwest turn by Monday. On the forecast track, Alberto is expected to pass near the eastern coast of the Yucatan peninsula on Friday night, and be near the western tip of Cuba on Saturday morning.
Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph (65 km/h) with higher gusts. Gradual strengthening is forecast for the next 72 hours. Winds of 40 mph extend outward up to 115 miles (185 km) from the center.
A tropical storm watch is in effect for Tulum to Cabo Catoche, Mexico, and the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio.
Alberto is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 15 inches with isolated totals of 25 inches across the northeastern portions of the Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba. These rains could produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.
Swells generated by Alberto are affecting portions of the coast of eastern Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.