Tropical Storm Alberto maintains strength

Tropical Storm Alberto gaining strength (color enhanced infrared satellite image)

As of the 1AM Monday advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Alberto was located about 115 miles SSW of Panama City, FL. Sustained winds are now up to 65 mph and the storm is moving north at 9 mph. A continued slower north/northwest track will continue overnight tonight. Little additional strengthening is forecast until the system makes landfall as a strong tropical storm with wind speed around 65 mph. That appears likely to happen during the early afternoon hours on Monday.A TROPICAL STORM WARNING remains in effect for the NBC 15 viewing area including Mobile, Baldwin, Escambia, Okaloosa, and Santa Rosa counties.

A FLASH FLOOD WATCH is also in effect for our through Tuesday Evening. Heavy rain will likely result in flooding, especially close to and just east of Alberto's eventual track, with 5-10" of rain in NW Florida and 2 to 4" for the rest of our area.

A STORM SURGE WATCH is also in effect for NW Florida coastal areas of Santa Rosa & Okaloosa Counties.

HIGH RIP CURRENT RISK is in place for all of our beaches through Wednesday.

This tropical activity is not new to us here at NBC 15. Two weeks ago we first told you about possible tropical development in the west Caribbean prior to Memorial Day weekend. In addition to the National Hurricane Center forecast, we're also keeping tabs on several forecast models that are tracking Tropical Storm Alberto. Most of the models continue to come into better alignment and many of them point towards a Mississippi, Alabama, or NW Florida landfall by Monday evening, similar to the NHC official forecast track.

While hurricanes tend to grab the biggest headlines, it's important to note that tropical storms can be every bit as dangerous in many ways. That is especially true of storms that move slowly because they can produce a tremendous amount of rain. As of now, rough surf, dangerous rip currents, and heavy rain are the primary concerns with Tropical Storm Alberto. We'll keep you ahead of the storm with the latest information every step of the way.

Download our free NBC 15 weather app. Go to the app store and type in WPMI WX.

Rip Current Forecast:

Memorial Day: High Risk

Tuesday: High Risk

Please check the flags at your beach before swimming in the Gulf as a HIGH RISK will be in place through the holiday weekend. Many beaches may also display the double-red flag, which means a beach is closed to swimming. If you ever find yourself trapped in a rip current, swim parallel to the shoreline and in time you will swim out of it.