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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Alberto, where do you think you're going?
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5519
Skye, how do you see 92E,that has taken an eternal time to develop?
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 13261
To it's credit, the most recent GFS had it continuing S to SW and then stalling for about a day before moving NE, so maybe the GFS is the best model after all.

GFS stalls it about where it is apparently for 3 days.
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NSSL WRF 4 km grid initialized 00 UTC May 20 2012

36 h Total Precipitation (mm)
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625. Skyepony (Mod)
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Any news on pre94L? Or if it might develop?
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Quoting LargoFl:
now that would be interesting if it did happen


It's not unprecedented:
Ivan
Gordon
Betsy (ok, this is a stretch).
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Quoting weatherh98:


Yes, and it was supposed to have turned by now.

It just keeps on trucking


Georgia Landfall?
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Quoting RTSplayer:
What are the odds of Alberto continuing it's retrograde motion and moving SW into the Gulf coast area?

There is no large steering feature near it, the trough is days away.

It's forecast to start turning N and NE again like right now, but the low and mid level winds don't seem to support that.


Yes, and it was supposed to have turned by now.

It just keeps on trucking
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too much shear in the gulf for it to live anyway
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Quoting RTSplayer:
What are the odds of Alberto continuing it's retrograde motion and moving SW into the Gulf coast area?

There is no large steering feature near it, the trough is days away.

It's forecast to start turning N and NE again like right now, but the low and mid level winds don't seem to support that.
now that would be interesting if it did happen
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617. Skyepony (Mod)
Alberto had recovered a bit from the decoupling lastnight but just weakened abit again. According to Dvorak CI just dropped to 2.7, pressure is up to 1003mb mean cloud temps are on the rise. Still going SW at about the same clip.

I'm still giving this a small chance to make it to Jacksonville area before it loops back. All depends on the 3rd low forming along that trough over Bahamas & how fast the Low off VA gets to land.
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maybe first tropical something in may for ns ever!!! might be fun
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What are the odds of Alberto continuing it's retrograde motion and moving SW into the Gulf coast area?

There is no large steering feature near it, the trough is days away.

It's forecast to start turning N and NE again like right now, but the low and mid level winds don't seem to support that.
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Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
Uh oh.... If any of you have been following the Fukushima situation, you'd be worried to know that two earthquakes around 6.0 occurred off the east coast of Japan today. Waiting on news from tepco...
TOKYO: Japan was hit by two shallow earthquakes in the space of just eight minutes on Sunday, one of them measuring a strong 6.2-magnitude, but there were no reports of damage and no tsunami alert.

The 6.2-magnitude quake struck at 4:20pm (0720 GMT) off Japan's northeast Pacific coast, the national meteorological agency said, followed by a tremor with a reading of 5.7 at 4:28pm.

The US Geological Survey estimated the magnitude of the first quake at 6.0.

The depth of both quakes was about 10 kilometres, the agency said.

"Sea levels may change slightly due to the (first) earthquake but there is no fear of damage resulting from it," the agency said in a statement.

A 9.0-magnitude undersea earthquake off the same coast triggered a monster tsunami on March 11 last year, leaving about 19,000 people dead or missing and crippling the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
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Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
Uh oh.... If any of you have been following the Fukushima situation, you'd be worried to know that two earthquakes around 6.0 occurred off the east coast of Japan today. Waiting on news from tepco...
gee it just keeps on blasting those poor people over there. one event after another
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Quoting stillwaiting:
,its half naked from sw sheer,it'll be declassified tonight imo
doubt it
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Quoting Beachfoxx:
Hey Doug,
Tell that crazy man to be careful and to stay away from the panhandle! LoL



I'll pass that on. Also, he just recently moved back to the Pensacola area after being in New Mexico for 21 years. Thanks!
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wet times in the nw carib it seems
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Uh oh.... If any of you have been following the Fukushima situation, you'd be worried to know that two earthquakes around 6.0 occurred off the east coast of Japan today. Waiting on news from tepco...
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:

purple back in the W caribbean
yes june 1st is getting closer and the gulf waters are warm
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Quoting LargoFl:

purple back in the W caribbean
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 9547
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HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
536 AM EDT SUN MAY 20 2012

ANZ530>543-DCZ001-MDZ006-007-011-013-014-016>018- VAZ052>057-
211000-
CHESAPEAKE BAY NORTH OF POOLES ISLAND MD-
CHESAPEAKE BAY FROM POOLES ISLAND TO SANDY POINT MD-
CHESAPEAKE BAY FROM SANDY POINT TO NORTH BEACH MD-
CHESAPEAKE BAY FROM NORTH BEACH TO DRUM POINT MD-
CHESAPEAKE BAY FROM DRUM POINT MD TO SMITH POINT VA-
TIDAL POTOMAC FROM KEY BRIDGE TO INDIAN HEAD MD-
TIDAL POTOMAC FROM INDIAN HEAD TO COBB ISLAND MD-
TIDAL POTOMAC FROM COBB ISLAND MD TO SMITH POINT VA-
PATAPSCO RIVER INCLUDING BALTIMORE HARBOR-
CHESTER RIVER TO QUEENSTOWN MD-EASTERN BAY-
CHOPTANK RIVER TO CAMBRIDGE MD AND THE LITTLE CHOPTANK RIVER-
PATUXENT RIVER TO BROOMES ISLAND MD-
TANGIER SOUND AND THE INLAND WATERS SURROUNDING BLOODSWORTH
ISLAND-DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA-NORTHERN BALTIMORE-HARFORD-
SOUTHERN BALTIMORE-PRINCE GEORGES-ANNE ARUNDEL-CHARLES-ST. MARYS-
CALVERT-PRINCE WILLIAM/MANASSAS/MANASSAS PARK-FAIRFAX-
ARLINGTON/FALLS CHURCH/ALEXANDRIA-STAFFORD-SPOTSYLVANIA-
KING GEORGE-
536 AM EDT SUN MAY 20 2012

THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR THE MARYLAND PORTION OF THE
CHESAPEAKE BAY...TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER...AND ADJACENT COUNTIES IN
CENTRAL MARYLAND AND NORTHERN VIRGINIA AS WELL AS THE DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA.

.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT

A SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT TODAY AND TONIGHT FOR THE
MARYLAND CHESAPEAKE BAY SOUTH OF DRUM POINT AND THE LOWER TIDAL
POTOMAC RIVER FROM COBB ISLAND TO SMITH POINT.

MINOR COASTAL FLOODING IS POSSIBLE AT SENSITIVE SITES LATE
TONIGHT.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY

A PERSISTENT NORTHEAST FLOW MAY CAUSE MINOR OR POSSIBLY MODERATE
COASTAL FLOODING AROUND HIGH TIDE TIMES MONDAY AND TUESDAY.

.SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT...

SPOTTER ACTIVATION IS NOT ANTICIPATED AT THIS TIME.

$$
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Quoting uncwhurricane85:


yeah i know, i was just commenting back, no big deal.
LOL... I thought his post was kinda fun, but I seriously doubt most of us will actually follow that sound advice he gave... we will likely all at some point overhype or underplay or try to say where a storm will end up.... it's almost impossible not to do it.....

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gee this flooding has been going on for almost a week now in NC.....................FLOOD STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WILMINGTON NC
957 AM EDT SUN MAY 20 2012

...THE FLOOD WARNING CONTINUES FOR THE FOLLOWING RIVER IN SOUTH
CAROLINA...

GREAT PEE DEE AT PEE DEE AFFECTING FLORENCE AND MARION COUNTIES

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

PEOPLE WITH INTERESTS ALONG THE RIVER SHOULD TAKE THE NECESSARY
PRECAUTIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY FROM THE FLOOD WATERS.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE AT WEATHER.GOV/ILM
UNDER THE RIVERS/LAKES AHPS LINK.

&&

SCC041-067-210557-
/O.EXT.KILM.FL.W.0001.000000T0000Z-120523T0359Z/
/PDES1.1.ER.120518T0845Z.120520T1800Z.120522T1559 Z.NO/
957 AM EDT SUN MAY 20 2012

...FLOOD WARNING NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL TUESDAY EVENING...
THE FLOOD WARNING CONTINUES FOR
THE GREAT PEE DEE AT PEE DEE.
* UNTIL TUESDAY EVENING.
* AT 9:00 AM SUNDAY...THE STAGE WAS 20.0 FEET.
* FLOOD STAGE IS 19.0 FEET.
* MINOR FLOODING IS OCCURRING...AND MINOR FLOODING IS FORECAST.
* FORECAST...THE RIVER WILL CONTINUE RISING TO NEAR 20.1 FEET BY THIS
EVENING. THE RIVER WILL FALL BELOW FLOOD STAGE LATE TUESDAY
MORNING.
* IMPACT...AT 20.0 FEET...FLOOD WATERS WILL AFFECT SWAMPLANDS AND
LOGGING INTERESTS. FLOOD WATERS WILL AFFECT TIMBERLAND AS FAR
DOWNSTREAM AS YAUHANNAH TWO WEEKS AFTER THE CREST PASSES PEE DEE.
LOGGING EQUIPMENT NEEDS TO BE MOVED.

$$
47
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COASTAL WATERS FORECAST
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHARLESTON SC
852 AM EDT SUN MAY 20 2012

SOUTH SANTEE RIVER SC TO SAVANNAH GA OUT 20 NM AND SAVANNAH GA TO
ALTAMAHA SOUND GA OUT 60 NM...INCLUDING CHARLESTON HARBOR AND GRAYS
REEF NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY

AMZ374-210400-
WATERS FROM SAVANNAH GA TO ALTAMAHA SOUND GA EXTENDING FROM 20 TO
60 NM-
852 AM EDT SUN MAY 20 2012

...TROPICAL STORM WARNING IN EFFECT...

.TODAY...TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS POSSIBLE. N WINDS 20 TO 25 KT
WITH GUSTS TO 35 KT. SEAS 9 FT...BUILDING TO 11 FT THIS AFTERNOON.
SHOWERS WITH A CHANCE OF TSTMS.
.TONIGHT...TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS EXPECTED. N WINDS 35 TO 45 KT.
SEAS 11 TO 12 FT. SHOWERS IN THE EVENING...THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS
AFTER MIDNIGHT. A CHANCE OF TSTMS.
.MON...TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS POSSIBLE. NW WINDS 25 TO 30 KT WITH
GUSTS TO 40 KT...DIMINISHING TO 15 TO 20 KT WITH GUSTS TO 25 KT IN
THE AFTERNOON. SEAS 12 FT. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND TSTMS.
.MON NIGHT...SW WINDS 10 TO 15 KT WITH GUSTS TO 20 KT. SEAS 12 FT...
SUBSIDING TO 9 FT AFTER MIDNIGHT. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND
TSTMS EARLY IN THE EVENING... THEN A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE
LATE EVENING AND OVERNIGHT.
.TUE...SW WINDS 10 TO 15 KT WITH GUSTS TO 20 KT. SEAS 6 FT. A SLIGHT
CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND TSTMS.
.TUE NIGHT...S WINDS 10 TO 15 KT WITH GUSTS TO 20 KT. SEAS 5 FT...
SUBSIDING TO 4 FT AFTER MIDNIGHT. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND TSTMS.
.WED...SW WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 3 FT IN THE
AFTERNOON. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND TSTMS EARLY IN THE MORNING.
.WED NIGHT...S WINDS 5 TO 10 KT WITH GUSTS TO 20 KT. SEAS 3 FT. A
SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND TSTMS.
.THU...S WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 3 FT. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND
TSTMS EARLY IN THE MORNING.

MARINERS ARE REMINDED THAT WINDS AND SEAS CAN BE HIGHER IN AND
NEAR TSTMS.

$$
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Hey Doug,
Tell that crazy man to be careful and to stay away from the panhandle! LoL
Quoting PensacolaDoug:
Oz will be on Tybee Island in about 1/2 an hour. A good place to witness our first storm of the season.
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Quoting reedzone:
Alberto has definitely recovered from DMAX, looks good.

,its half naked from sw sheer,it'll be declassified tonight imo
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Good morning!

Alberto is looking better this morning. It isn't decoupled and its structure has improved. Still could use some strong convection over the center of circulation.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Uh, not quite sure what ur post has to do with his post, but....

Really! nobody expected for this to be some kind of disaster scenario... so ur first comment was like anti-hyping something nobody had hyped in the first place.



yeah i know, i was just commenting back, no big deal.
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Oz will be on Tybee Island in about 1/2 an hour. A good place to witness our first storm of the season.
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Quoting uncwhurricane85:


yeah well this is a 50mph tropical storm, that is the size of connecticut, and will not be stalling after if makes its move north. id hardly compare it to anything like Katrina or Rita, or any storm for that matter. Plus the area affected is much prepared and not below sea level and can take huge amounts of rain fall. So calm down!
Uh, not quite sure what ur post has to do with his post, but....

Really! nobody expected for this to be some kind of disaster scenario... so ur first comment was like anti-hyping something nobody had hyped in the first place.

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Quoting TuMama:
If you are off the SC coast you better evacuate the ocean now! Rip Current KILL!

yeah good one I just wish people can listen to that cause they never do so let them go out there and get kills you never know we may get our first death of the season
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 9547
Quoting Grothar:
Good afternoon,boys and girls!




Gro, it's morning!!
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there is still a low in the GOH but it is weak however obs show that therer is still a circluation and the low pressure is 1008mb right in the middel of the circulation now shear is still high however it is droping very slowly but should bring good amount of lower shear between 24-48hours which should redevelop the low stronger
winds

pressure

shear

shear forecast 24 hours

shear forecast 36 hours

shear forecast 48 hours
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 9547
Quoting Articuno:

Hey.

Hey Ryan. Alberto looks better, but not as good as it was yesterday at noon.

On another note, the Western Caribbean has been rather unstable lately.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5519
Looking at just the temperature gradient map alone (and realizing much more goes into things), it seems there may exist a potential for some severe weather into next week:

heat

Meanwhile, the SPC says this for Day 3:

THE STRENGTH OF THE UPPER SYSTEM MAY
REQUIRE AN INCREASE TO SEVERE PROBS ACROSS THE NRN PLAINS AS
VERTICAL SHEAR PROFILES WOULD CERTAINLY SUPPORT ORGANIZED STORMS.

And, FWIW, the 8-14 day temperature outlook, a reminder that summer is nearly upon us:

heat
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Good afternoon,boys and girls!


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Quoting weathermanwannabe:
Always very cool to have the benefit of watching real time doppler images when these storms are close to shore (or as they make landfall if that were the case).


Any Reports of T'S wind on the Carolina Coast?
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Quoting Articuno:

Hey. I think Alberto has recovered enough to strengthen just another 5 or maybe 10 mph.


That's what It looks like; however, the latest atcf doesn't show the strengthening we see
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Albertos banding has improved over night...
It now had bands starting on all sides, mot just the north side
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

Alberto looks better than last night. Good Morning.

Hey.
Member Since: October 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2179
According to 8:05am Tropical Weather Discussion, there is a surface trough remaining in GOH.
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Quoting aspectre:
538 uncwhurricane85: This storm isnt even worth talking about! We've received more rain/wind from thunderstorms the past 4 days than we will see with this even if it makes landfall.

Once upon a time, PatRobertson prophesized that God'sWrath would send a HUGE hurricane to destroy DisneyWorld and Orlando because they didn't prevent an unofficial GayDay from happening there.
And sure enough, 2 HUGE hurricanes wreaked havoc...
...upon PatRobertson's 700Club home turf in VirginiaBeach: 1998's Bonnie and 1999's Floyd.
Those same two HurricaneSeasons were relatively mild for Florida considering its history.

In other words, don't go predictin' what a hurricane will do damage-wise lest ya jinx yourself.

Sometimes ya can almost get the feelin' that hurricanes have a very VICIOUS sense of humor:
NewOrleans breathed a sigh of relief because the worst of Katrina was over... then the levees collapsed.
Rita heads at the Houston metroplex like a maddened bull charges a rodeo clown -- terrifying people with vision's of "another Katrina" so soon after the original -- then veers away... after proving that Houston's DisasterEvacuationPlan was a disaster in&of itself.
Then after all too many of those folks had convinced themselves that the Rita fiasco proved that nothing was worth putting up with the hassle of a mass evacuation, Ike takes out Galveston area.

Edit in: 503 KEEPEROFTHEGATE: [Atlantic SurfaceWind Map]

Now that's a cool map.
At least along the surface, looks like the Bermuda-AzoresHigh is trying spinning up TSAlberto off of SouthCarolina AND trying to spinup the low off of the Virgina-NorthCarolina border, blocking TSAlberto from heading north.


yeah well this is a 50mph tropical storm, that is the size of connecticut, and will not be stalling after if makes its move north. id hardly compare it to anything like Katrina or Rita, or any storm for that matter. Plus the area affected is much prepared and not below sea level and can take huge amounts of rain fall. So calm down!
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Glad you made it in OK Presslord!

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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.