The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Friday afternoon that the tropical storm watch has been issued from Indian Pass, Florida, westward to Grand Isle, Louisiana along a swath that also includes parts of Alabama and Mississippi.
All 67 Florida counties were issued the notice to give state and local governments enough time and resources to prepare, Scott said in a statement. Just because the named cyclone is a "subtropical" entity at this time, it needs to be taken extremely seriously because the same impacts as a tropical storm or low-end hurricane can be felt and are expected across parts of the Southeast.
Subtropical Storm Alberto will bring awful conditions for boaters, and the United States Coast Guard on Saturday asked them to refrain from taking their boats out Memorial Day weekend as the storm approaches.
Tropical storm watches are also in effect for parts of Mexico and Cuba.
With maximum sustained winds of 40 mphs, it was moving to north at about 13 miles per hour, according to the Hurricane Center. However, conditions are expected to become a little more favorable for development as this system moves north into the central or eastern Gulf by late Friday or early Saturday. Thursday's shift aligns it more with a track similar to the European model, which has been a little more consistent, showing a tropical or subtropical storm drifting ashore near New Orleans.
But the storm's reach extends far to the north and east, over Cuba and South Florida.
The National Hurricane Center is reporting Subtropical Storm Albert will move by Cuba Saturday and is predicted to start its trek toward the Gulf of Mexico coast tomorrow.
Bay News 9 chief meteorologist Mike Clay estimates that there's only a slim chance of Alberto upgrading to a tropical storm as it approaches Mississippi. River flooding is possible, along with coastal flooding and inland rainwater flooding.
The National Weather Service in Mobile has expanded a flash flood watch for southwest Alabama and said the rain could begin as soon as tonight and last through Tuesday.
He said it was not unusual for tropical systems to form outside of the official Atlantic Hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30 annually.