Tropical Storm Alberto Forms over the Gulf Stream

MODIS Satellite Image of Invest 93L just before the National Hurricane Center (NHC) designated the disturbance ‘Tropical Storm Alberto’. [May 19th 2012]

Summary of 500pm EDT (2100 UTC) Information:
…”Tropical Storm Watch along the South Carolina coast is discontinued”…
Location 30.9N, 80.0W
About 105mi (170km) SE of Savannah, Georgia
About 130mi (210km) S of Charleston, South Carolina
Maximum Sustained Winds: 45mph (75km/h)
Present Movement: SW or 235 Degrees at 6mph (9km/h)
Minimum Central Pressure: 1006mb (29.71in)

A sub-tropical disturbance made a complete core transition from cold to warm core before detaching from its fronts and troughs and becoming the first named storm of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season – Alberto yesterday afternoon. Nearby ship reports of 60mph winds were evidence enough for the National Hurricane Center to give Alberto these peak winds last night before a weakening trend began.

The storm drifted southwestward over night prompting cautionary tropical storm watches along portions of the South Carolina coast that have since been discontinued. The storm has remained small and fairly weak with only a few showers with gusty winds occurring along the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia today despite the storm being just over 100 miles away from land. Overall, Alberto’s impacts have been minimal, and are expected to remain so.

Today, convection in all quadrants of the storm has waned and at times Alberto became little more than a low cloud swirl with an exposed center of circulation. The Hurricane Hunters investigated the storm this afternoon and found little change in organization or strength of note, but hopefully the information gathered during their flight will help aid in forecasting the storm.

The future of Alberto doesn’t show too much change. Alberto is forecast to drift south and southwestward for another few hours before making a turn to the east and then northeast and being picked up and taken out to sea – safely off the US East coast. Although the storm is expected to move back over the warm gulf stream waters, after spending much of today over the cooler shelf waters, dry continental air and an increase in wind shear is expected to keep Alberto from strengthening. In fact, the small size of the storm and its relative disorganization could succumb to these hostile conditions and Alberto may dissipate before the end of the five day forecast period – before even transitioning back to extra-tropical storm status.


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