Low pressure off the coast of S. Carolina has become tropical storm "Alberto", the earliest Atlantic basin tropical cyclone since "Ana" in 2003 & the first time ever that tropical cyclones have developed in the same year in both basins prior to the beginning of the official start of the hurricane season (June 1 in the Atlantic & May 15 in the E. Pacific). It's worth mentioning that an early start does not necessarily translate into a busy or active season.
"Alberto" is but 200 or so miles northeast of Jacksonville. The storm has been drifting to the southwest BUT should soon stall then turn north & northeast by Monday as a weak -- but strong enough -- upper level trough moves to the east coast. Very dry air is wrapping around "Alberto" from the west & south (as evidenced by the clearing skies over the First Coast late Sat.) & could end up choking off the storm causing eventual weakening despite the close proximity of the warm Gulf Stream. Still...the storm is too close to the coast to preclude the issuance of a tropical storm WATCH for coastal S. Carolina.
As for the local Jacksonville & First Coast area....there will be minimal impacts from the compact storm unless "Alberto" makes a slower turn to the north which is not expected at this time. The greatest impact will be rough seas & surf & an increased rip current risk.
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