Tropical Storm Alberto forms off the South Carolina coast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:41 PM GMT on May 19, 2012

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The first named storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season is here. Tropical Storm Alberto formed this afternoon off the coast of South Carolina--a little going-away present for outgoing NHC director Bill Read, who retires on June 1! Alberto has the potential to hit North Carolina as early as Monday, but since the storm is so small, it would only affect a small area of the coast with high winds and heavy rain. Upper level winds out of the southwest are creating a moderate 15 - 20 knots of wind shear over Alberto, and the storm is over the warm waters of Gulf Stream, which are 81°F (27°C), just above the 26°C threshold usually needed to sustain a tropical storm. The system is tangled up with an upper level trough of low pressure, which is pumping cold, dry air into the storm, slowing development. The dry air impinging on Alberto from the southwest can be seen in water vapor satellite loops. Heavy rain showers from Alberto are located about 50 miles offshore of the coast of South Carolina, as seen on Wilmington radar. At times today, 93L has had a cloud-free center resembling an eye on radar, but this was not a true eye.


Figure 1. True color satellite photo of Alberto taken at 1:50 pm EDT Saturday May 19, 2012. Image credit: NASA.

Forecast for Alberto
Rain showers from Alberto are likely to move onshore between Charleston and Wilmington Saturday night and Sunday, bringing 1 - 3 inches of rain to portions of the coast. The storm is too small to cause major flooding problems, particularly since the coast is under moderate to severe drought. Alberto's rains will not be plentiful enough to cause significant drought relief, except perhaps over a small region near the coast, where (and if) the storm makes landfall. Wind shear is expected to remain in the moderate range, 15 - 20 knots, through Monday, which is low enough to allow some slow development. Since the storm is very small, it is highly vulnerable to even a modest increase in wind shear or dry air, which could rapidly disrupt it. Steering currents are weak, and Alberto will wander off the coast of South Carolina through Sunday, before getting caught up by a trough of low pressure on Monday which should lift it out to the northeast. The moderate wind shear and dry air are likely to keep Alberto below hurricane strength. NHC is giving Alberto a 5 - 10% chance of reaching hurricane strength before dissipating on Thursday as it scoots northeast out to sea.


Figure 2. Late afternoon radar image of Alberto from the Wilmington radar.

Alberto in historical context
Alberto is earliest-forming tropical storm in the Atlantic Basin since Ana in 2003, which formed on April 21. Alberto is one of only three Atlantic tropical storms to form in May in the past 31 years. The others were Tropical Storm Arthur of 2008, and Tropical Storm Arlene of 1981. There was also a subtropical storm, Andrea, that formed in May of 2007. Formation of an early season tropical storm from an old frontal boundary, like occurred with Alberto, is not a harbinger of an active hurricane season--it's more of a random occurrence. Early season storms that form in the Caribbean, though, often signal that a busy hurricane season may occur.

I'll have an update Sunday morning.

Jeff Masters

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79. JeffMasters (Admin)
Quoting HurrikanEB:
"Alberto is the first Atlantic tropical storm to form in May since Tropical Storm Arlene in 1981."



Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Arthur in 2008 form on May 30th and make land fall on May 31? Alberto is definitely the earliest May storm since Arlene, but I think Arthur has him beat as far as "first" goes.


Yep, I meant to say earliest in May...fixed the wording, thanks,

Jeff Masters
Quoting nash28:
I see TS watch has now gone up.


only for mariners, dont think there are any coastal watches yet
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ANZ088-200300-
CAPE FEAR TO 31N OUT TO 32N 73W TO 31N 74W
600 PM EDT SAT MAY 19 2012

TROPICAL STORM WARNING


TONIGHT
SHIFTING WINDS 30 TO 40 KT WITH GUSTS TO 50 KT NEAR
CENTER OF ALBERTO...EXCEPT E OF 75W 20 TO 30 KT. SEAS 9 TO 18
FT...EXCEPT E OF 75W 6 TO 10 FT. SHOWERS AND TSTMS W OF 75W.

SUN
SHIFTING WINDS 35 TO 45 KT WITH GUSTS TO 55 KT NEAR
CENTER OF ALBERTO...EXCEPT E OF 75W 25 TO 35 KT. SEAS BUILDING
TO 12 TO 22 FT...EXCEPT E OF 75W 6 TO 12 FT. SHOWERS AND TSTMS W
OF 75W.

SUN NIGHT
SHIFTING WINDS 35 TO 45 KT WITH GUSTS TO 55 KT NEAR
CENTER OF ALBERTO...EXCEPT E OF 75W 25 TO 35 KT. SEAS BUILDING
TO 12 TO 22 FT...EXCEPT E OF 75W 6 TO 12 FT. SHOWERS AND TSTMS W
OF 75W.

MON AND MON NIGHT
SHIFTING WINDS 35 TO 45 KT WITH GUSTS TO 55
KT NEAR CENTER OF ALBERTO...EXCEPT E OF 75W 25 TO 35 KT. SEAS
BUILDING TO 14 TO 24 FT...EXCEPT E OF 75W 7 TO 14 FT. SHOWERS
AND TSTMS W OF 75W.

TUE
BECOMING W TO SW AND DIMINISHING TO 15 TO 25 KT. SEAS
BECOMING 7 TO 14 FT THROUGHOUT.

WED
WINDS BECOMING S TO SW 10 TO 20 KT. SEAS SUBSIDING TO 4
TO 8 FT.

THU
WINDS DIMINISHING TO E TO SE 10 KT. SEAS SUBSIDING TO 3
TO 5 FT.
$$
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21:45 UTC RGB Image

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Wonder how Alberto will do early tomorrow morning for D-MAX.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32711
Quoting ncstorm:




Hey ncstorm... long time no see. What are locals down your way thinking as far as Alberto is concerned?
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I see TS watch has now gone up.
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Quoting nash28:


This has to be one of the more obtuse posts I have ever had the misfortune of reading in the years I have been on this site.

Really?? One hour huh? Sure does leave alot of time to pack up and beat feet out of harms way. LOL!!!! WOW!


He's NOSTORMINFLORIDA from last year. He had a long off season for his butt to heal after LMAO a bunch last year.
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The Atlantic begins to get ACE numbers. Go to my ACE blog to see how things stand in the different basins.

Link
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14773
Blog update:

Tropical Tidbit for Saturday, May 19th, with Video
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Quoting Patrap:
I'LL HAVE ANOTHER WINS THE SECOND JEWEL OF THE TRIPLE CROWN by winning the Preakness by a noseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
I am sorry but ummm WTF?
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


no one cares, we dont need to know how many people are on your ignore list and he should not be given any more attention

Alberto is the focus...looks pretty good...dmin hitting it a little bit


Well, everyone else seems to be ok with it, so why does it bother you? If it does just scroll right on past. Thanks!
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Thanks Dr. Masters
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I'LL HAVE ANOTHER WINS THE SECOND JEWEL OF THE TRIPLE CROWN by winning the Preakness by a noseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
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Quoting nash28:


This has to be one of the more obtuse posts I have ever had the misfortune of reading in the years I have been on this site.

Really?? One hour huh? Sure does leave alot of time to pack up and beat feet out of harms way. LOL!!!! WOW!
Troll.
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Quoting BADFORCASTAGAIN:
alberto will be the 1st of many many many fish storms again this year so dont get caught up in the tracks of any storm until its 1 hour away because they will change the track a zillon tims for each storm and most will go out to sea


This has to be one of the more obtuse posts I have ever had the misfortune of reading in the years I have been on this site.

Really?? One hour huh? Sure does leave alot of time to pack up and beat feet out of harms way. LOL!!!! WOW!
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Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Yep. Not sure why anybody would expect development down there anyways. It is just too hostile.

no it is not well not as hostile as the gulf of mexico
plus conditions are geting better in the Gulf of honduras and should be in the favored threshold within the next 12-36 hours
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12710

000
WTUS82 KCHS 192143
HLSCHS

URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
TROPICAL STORM ALBERTO LOCAL STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHARLESTON SC
543 PM EDT SAT MAY 19 2012

...TROPICAL STORM ALBERTO FORMS ...

.NEW INFORMATION...
A TROPICAL STORM WATCH HAS NOW BEEN ISSUED.

.AREAS AFFECTED...
THIS LOCAL STATEMENT PROVIDES IMPORTANT INFORMATION AND
RECOMMENDED ACTIONS FOR PEOPLE AND MARINE INTERESTS IN SELECT
LOCATIONS AND COASTAL WATER LEGS OF SOUTHEAST SOUTH CAROLINA AND
SOUTHEAST GEORGIA.

.WATCHES/WARNINGS...
FOR MARINE INTERESTS...A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR
PORTIONS OF SOUTHEAST SOUTH CAROLINA AND SOUTHEAST GEORGIA.

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
POSSIBLE WITHIN THE NEXT 48 HOURS SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE SPECIFIED
AREAS.

ALL PERSONS IN THE WATCH AREAS SHOULD REVIEW THEIR PREPAREDNESS
PLAN AND BE READY TO IMPLEMENT IT SHOULD A WARNING BE ISSUED FOR
THEIR AREA.

IN ORDER TO MAKE THE BEST DECISIONS...BE SURE THAT YOU UNDERSTAND
THE TERMINOLOGY AND DEFINITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH TROPICAL CYCLONE
EVENTS.

ALTHOUGH TROPICAL CYCLONE WATCHES OR WARNINGS ARE NOT IN EFFECT
FOR THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS...CHARLESTON...POSSIBLE IMPACTS FROM
RELATED HAZARDS ARE STILL A CONCERN.

PLEASE CHECK THE LATEST PUBLIC AND MARINE FORECASTS FOR DETAILED
INFORMATION ABOUT ADDITIONAL HAZARDS.

.STORM INFORMATION...
AT 5 PM EDT...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM ALBERTO WAS LOCATED
NEAR LATITUDE 32.2N...LONGITUDE 77.7W. THIS WAS ABOUT 130 MILES
EAST-SOUTHEAST OF CHARLESTON SC. STORM MOTION WAS SW OR
220 DEGREES AT 3 MPH. STORM INTENSITY WAS 45 MPH.

.SITUATION OVERVIEW...
A TROPICAL STORM WATCH HAS NOW BEEN ISSUED. A MORE DETAILED
STATEMENT WILL FOLLOW SHORTLY.

.PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...
PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

MARINERS ARE URGED TO MAKE ALL NECESSARY PREPARATIONS. NOW IS THE
TIME TO INITIATE PREPARATIONS ACCORDING TO YOUR EMERGENCY PLAN FOR
TROPICAL SYSTEMS. MONITOR WEATHER BROADCASTS FOR CHANGES TO THE
LATEST FORECAST AND LISTEN FOR FURTHER STATEMENTS FROM LOCAL
OFFICIALS.

&&

.NEXT UPDATE...
THE NEXT LOCAL STATEMENT WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER
SERVICE IN CHARLESTON SHORTLY. IT WILL PROVIDE IMPORTANT DETAILS
REGARDING THE EVOLVING TROPICAL CYCLONE THREATS AND THEIR
POTENTIAL IMPACTS UPON THE AREA.

AMZ350-200045-
/O.NEW.KCHS.TR.A.1001.120519T2143Z-000000T0000Z/
WATERS FROM SOUTH SANTEE RIVER TO EDISTO BEACH SC OUT 20 NM-
543 PM EDT SAT MAY 19 2012

...TROPICAL STORM WATCH IN EFFECT...

$$

SCZ050-200045-
/O.NEW.KCHS.HU.S.1001.120519T2143Z-000000T0000Z/
CHARLESTON-
543 PM EDT SAT MAY 19 2012

...TROPICAL STORM ALBERTO EXPECTED TO REMAIN OFFSHORE...

$$


Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32711
Quoting tropicfreak:
BADFORECASTAGAIN makes #67 on my ignore list. First one of the hurricane season lol.


no one cares, we dont need to know how many people are on your ignore list and he should not be given any more attention

Alberto is the focus...looks pretty good...dmin hitting it a little bit
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The CMC was the only model that depicted the low at the correct place for Alberto so for all of yall that clowned the CMC just to let you know its also developing the GOH mess which passes over the bahamas..just a thought



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"Alberto is the first Atlantic tropical storm to form in May since Tropical Storm Arlene in 1981."

Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Actually the last time a storm formed in May (actually it was a TD) was 2009 and we all know how that year turned out


Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Arthur in 2008 form on May 30th and make land fall on May 31? Alberto is definitely the earliest May storm since Arlene, but I think Arthur has him beat as far as "first" goes.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Yep. Not sure why anybody would expect development down there anyways. It is just too hostile.
Opps I meant to put post 22.
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TS ALBERTO - Rainbow Color Imagery Loop

..click image for Loop


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BADFORECASTAGAIN makes #67 on my ignore list. First one of the hurricane season lol.
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Thank you so much Dr Masters, for the rapid response to the climates overture to the season in the West Atlantic.
Small fish might be sweet but there always must be a vanguard to bigger things!
As an eye is looking for an eye, a trough for a trough and the claws are out for a landfall this season.
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I JUST GOT OFF WORK? WTH!

Alberto forms...so sudden?
No one said anything about this in the morning... and I tracked 92L so much for nothing and now i get this 45 mph storm?
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Dry air is really chewing at Alberto, but DMAX over the Gulf Stream should help. 
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Official ship report from the 75mph wind. 
SHIP S 2000 32.20 -78.00 15 270 350 65.1 - 9.8 3.0 - - 29.53 -0.37 73.4 78.8 

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Pressure are significantly lower and falling all across the the W/NW Caribbean
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
Gulf of honduras

and no not funny

All I see is a messy blob of cloudiness.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
For anyone interested, I wrote another blog entry on Alberto:

Link

It looks like a few outflow boundaries were shot out earlier. Not much in the way of outflow at the moment. But then again, this is a small tropical storm.

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Quoting washingtonian115:
Post 21.To funny...

Yep. Not sure why anybody would expect development down there anyways. It is just too hostile.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32711
Quoting seafarer459:

Happy to hear that...
Tell em I said not to stop for any mermaids thumbing a ride.



I will pass dat along.

: )
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Quoting Patrap:


They fine, just spoke to Him again..as we trying to get a pic from his phone. They moving a Vessel from point to point.

Happy to hear that...
Tell em I said not to stop for any mermaids thumbing a ride.
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

Well, it's not like there's going to be a 65kt gust in the middle of the ocean without convection.


Lol true...
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Here's a visulazition of wind patterns over the land area of the United States. It uses recent data and you can see the front in the middle of the country pretty clearly. I'd like to see it when Alberto moves closer in to land.

Wind Map
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(click to enlarge)
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Gulf of honduras

and no not funny
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12710
Quoting WxGeekVA:


Probably just a gust in some of the convection.

Well, it's not like there's going to be a 65kt gust in the middle of the ocean without convection.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
I've been in favor since 06 of Starting the Atlantic Season May 15th as well.




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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

Yeah, it's been a while. Thank goodness we have a storm to track now, the climate change/religion/politics debates were getting tiring.


They always end in nobody winning
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
Well, I have to go for a while. Hopefully Alberto looks better when I return!
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32. LBAR
Clouds definitely thickening up here in (north) Mt. Pleasant. I live about 2 miles from Awendaw up the coast from Charleston. Slight breeze. One wouldn't know there is a tropical storm off the coast.
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Quoting weatherh98:


Havent seen you since last cane season!!! hey broski

Yeah, it's been a while. Thank goodness we have a storm to track now, the climate change/religion/politics debates were getting tiring.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
Post 21.To funny...
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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