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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Quoting WxGeekVA:


Most recent WINDSAT 37GHz H


First two named systems have had dual vortices. What does that mean?
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378. LBAR
Frying Pan Shoals floating buoy report:

Wind Direction (WDIR): NE ( 50 deg true )
5-day plot - Wind Speed Wind Speed (WSPD): 27.2 kts
5-day plot - Wind Gust Wind Gust (GST): 31.1 kts
5-day plot - Wave Height Wave Height (WVHT): 8.9 ft
5-day plot - Dominant Wave Period Dominant Wave Period (DPD): 7 sec
5-day plot - Average Period Average Period (APD): 5.7 sec
5-day plot - Mean Wave Direction Mean Wave Direction (MWD): ENE ( 68 deg true )
5-day plot - Atmospheric Pressure Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.96 in
5-day plot - Pressure Tendency Pressure Tendency (PTDY): +0.03 in ( Rising )
5-day plot - Air Temperature Air Temperature (ATMP): 71.4 °F
5-day plot - Water Temperature Water Temperature (WTMP): 74.1 °F
5-day plot - Dew Point Dew Point (DEWP): 63.5 °F

http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/station_page.php?station =41013
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hey press are ya much away from berth
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Good night everyone... I'm hoping D-Max will work its magic and I'll wake up to a much better looking storm tomorrow morning!
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
why does wiki have alberto at 65mph and 993mb?

As of 6:50 p.m. EDT (2250 UTC) May 19, Tropical Storm Alberto is located within 30 nautical miles of 32.2�N 77.9�W, about 140 mi (225 km) east-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina and about 120 mi (195 km) south of Cape Fear, North Carolina. Maximum sustained winds are 50 knots (65 mph, 105 km/h), with stronger gusts. Minimum central pressure is 993 mbar (hPa; 29.34 InHg), and the system is moving southwest at 3 kt (3 mph, 6 km/h)



but the 650 edt update says 60 mph and 995mb.

Do they know something we dont, or is that an error?

Believe it is an error.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32802
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
why does wiki have alberto at 65mph and 993mb?
As of 6:50 p.m. EDT (2250 UTC) May 19, Tropical Storm Alberto is located within 30 nautical miles of 32.2°N 77.9°W, about 140 mi (225 km) east-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina and about 120 mi (195 km) south of Cape Fear, North Carolina. Maximum sustained winds are 50 knots (65 mph, 105 km/h), with stronger gusts. Minimum central pressure is 993 mbar (hPa; 29.34 InHg), and the system is moving southwest at 3 kt (3 mph, 6 km/h)

but the 650 edt update says 60 mph and 995mb.

Do they know something we dont, or is that an error?

An error... As a general rule of thumb, Wikipedia is probably not the best source for tropical cyclone information
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why does wiki have alberto at 65mph and 993mb?

As of 6:50 p.m. EDT (2250 UTC) May 19, Tropical Storm Alberto is located within 30 nautical miles of 32.2N 77.9W, about 140 mi (225 km) east-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina and about 120 mi (195 km) south of Cape Fear, North Carolina. Maximum sustained winds are 50 knots (65 mph, 105 km/h), with stronger gusts. Minimum central pressure is 993 mbar (hPa; 29.34 InHg), and the system is moving southwest at 3 kt (3 mph, 6 km/h)



but the 650 edt update says 60 mph and 995mb.

Do they know something we dont, or is that an error?
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9756
Quoting CybrTeddy:


Doubt it as the latest ATCF files still show it at 60.


Things change fast though... If it continues this apparent weakening trend they would probably bring it down, though as reedzone mentioned they might keep it at 60 at 11 and then if it doesn't change during D-Max bring it down at 5AM
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
If what we think is the COC is it, then the new cloud burst on the N side is now the storm center.
Alberto would also still be getting closer to shore rather than going SW.

Also, its slow movement may stop it from harnessing the warth as much, but moisture is coming on the E side, so a transition to a NE movement would help it.


Remember that the gulf stream is canstantly bringing in hot water.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
It would be amazing if somehow Beryl formed in the Caribbean this upcoming week.

I think it will the upper level anticyclone is nearly centered over honduras via this map and it has been moving N all evening this is also causing shear to drop in the gulf of honduras if you think about it it has all it needs: an area of low pressure warm SST vort that it has now and now its developing lesser shear just imagine when that shear is down to 5-10kts and the convection builds you never know maybe Beryl becomes a hurricane
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

What? There is...
Okay I see now.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Why hasn't anyone put any information about Alberto on wikipedia?


it is mentioned under 2012 atlantic hurricane season.
2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
It would be amazing if somehow Beryl formed in the Caribbean this upcoming week.


Yaaaaaaaaaaaa
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

What? There is...


The ACE data is already being posted there.

Link
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14883
if that other upper level low was not there a little more N this would be a hurricane by now
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Just did a blog on Alberto. Didn't really have time to do 92E yet, but I'll probably do one later this evening around midnight or so, so keep an eye out.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 602 Comments: 21301
Quoting j2008:
I am trying my fingers at the art of blogging, if you have any time hop on over and give me a little constructive critisism/ feedback. Link


i commented on your blog.


Alberto's east side is falling apart, we really need that moisture to get there fast.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9756
Quoting washingtonian115:
Why hasn't anyone put any information about Alberto on wikipedia?

What? There is...
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32802
361. maeko
As still and quiet as the grave in Charleston...eerie. Barometric pressure is flat.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
We may see Alberto go down to 50 or 55mph at 11PM


Eh, Don't think the NHC is just going to fluctuate with it repeatedly. Thinking it'll stay at 60 Mph. But the Forecast strength will likely jump to a higher strength.

12 Hours: 60 Mph
24 Hours: 65 Mph
36 Hours: 70 Mph
48 Hours: 70 Mph
72 Hours: 60 Mph
96 Hours: 50 Mph
120 Hours: 45 Mph(Post-Tropical)
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
It would be amazing if somehow Beryl formed in the Caribbean this upcoming week.
not likely to happen..
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
We may see Alberto go down to 50 or 55mph at 11PM



I think the NHC is gonna wait till 5 a.m. to make that call, to see what DMAX does.. Should remain at 60 mph. at 11 p.m.
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It would be amazing if somehow Beryl formed in the Caribbean this upcoming week.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32802
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
We may see Alberto go down to 50 or 55mph at 11PM



Doubt it as the latest ATCF files still show it at 60.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24574
We may see Alberto go down to 50 or 55mph at 11PM

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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
Poll Time,
Atlantic Addition:


Alberto will get to what strength...
(A) 60 Mph, right now. Nothing more.
(B) 65 Mph, a little stronger, but won't strengthen much more.
(C) 70 Mph, Gets close to attaining hurricane status.
(D) Category 1, Atlantic's first May hurricane in over 20 years.

When will our next storm occur?
(A) This coming week
(B) Before the month ends
(C) June
(D) July

C and B
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Why hasn't anyone put any information about Alberto on wikipedia?
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Cristobal
Member Since: May 12, 2012 Posts: 11 Comments: 2870
351. WxGeekVA
1:21 AM GMT on May 20, 2012


The more I look, the less sure I am on where the COC is... I think there might be a second one to the east of where the clearing area is, but I'm not sure.
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3477
350. HurricaneDean07
1:21 AM GMT on May 20, 2012
Poll Time,
Atlantic Addition:


Alberto will get to what strength...
(A) 60 Mph, right now. Nothing more.
(B) 65 Mph, a little stronger, but won't strengthen much more.
(C) 70 Mph, Gets close to attaining hurricane status.
(D) Category 1, Atlantic's first May hurricane in over 20 years.

When will our next storm occur?
(A) This coming week
(B) Before the month ends
(C) June
(D) July
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
349. pottery
1:18 AM GMT on May 20, 2012
Quoting Ameister12:

Tropical Storm Christobal?

Good call !
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348. CybrTeddy
1:18 AM GMT on May 20, 2012
Quoting opal92nwf:
Reminds me of Alberto. Can anyone guess which one it is? (hint: within the last 6 yrs)


I was just thinking of Cristobal earlier this morning actually, fair analog for Alberto.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24574
347. TropicalAnalystwx13
1:18 AM GMT on May 20, 2012
Quoting ProgressivePulse:
Alberto is definitely not in an environment conducive to significant strengthening.

It doesn't really have to strengthen significantly to attain hurricane status.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32802
346. opal92nwf
1:17 AM GMT on May 20, 2012
Quoting Articuno:

What storm's that?
Alright, it's Tropical Storm Cristobal July 2008. It struggled with dry a lot as well.
Member Since: May 12, 2012 Posts: 11 Comments: 2870
345. Ameister12
1:17 AM GMT on May 20, 2012
Quoting opal92nwf:
Reminds me of Alberto. Can anyone guess which one it is? (hint: within the last 6 yrs)

Tropical Storm Christobal?
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5082
344. Articuno
1:15 AM GMT on May 20, 2012
Quoting opal92nwf:

What storm's that?
Member Since: October 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2556
343. blsealevel
1:15 AM GMT on May 20, 2012
well now this is intresting

A new NASA survey has pinned down the number of asteroids that could pose a collision threat to Earth in what scientists say is the best estimate yet of the potentially dangerous space rocks.

Potentially hazardous asteroids, or PHAs in NASA-speak, are space rocks in orbits that come within 5 million miles (8 million kilometers) of Earth and are large enough to cause damage on regional or global scale if they were ever to hit our planet.

According to the survey, about twice as many asteroids are in so-called "lower-inclination orbits" — which are more closely aligned with Earth's path around the sun than other objects — than previously thought researchers said.

"A possible explanation is that many of the PHAs may have originated from a collision between two asteroids in the main belt lying between Mars and Jupiter," NASA officials explained in a statement. "A larger body with a low-inclination orbit may have broken up in the main belt, causing some of the fragments to drift into orbits closer to Earth and eventually become PHAs."

Link
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342. j2008
1:11 AM GMT on May 20, 2012
I am trying my fingers at the art of blogging, if you have any time hop on over and give me a little constructive critisism/ feedback. Link
Member Since: December 19, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 224
341. opal92nwf
1:09 AM GMT on May 20, 2012
Reminds me of Alberto. Can anyone guess which one it is? (hint: within the last 6 yrs)
Member Since: May 12, 2012 Posts: 11 Comments: 2870
340. GeorgiaStormz
1:09 AM GMT on May 20, 2012
If what we think is the COC is it, then the new cloud burst on the N side is now the storm center.
Alberto would also still be getting closer to shore rather than going SW.

Also, its slow movement may stop it from harnessing the warth as much, but moisture is coming on the E side, so a transition to a NE movement would help it.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9756
339. GeoffreyWPB
1:09 AM GMT on May 20, 2012
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338. Stormchaser2007
1:08 AM GMT on May 20, 2012
Gonna take a break for a while.

Dry air is really chomping away at the eastern half.

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337. ProgressivePulse
1:06 AM GMT on May 20, 2012
Alberto is definitely not in an environment conducive to significant strengthening.
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 5458
336. opal92nwf
1:04 AM GMT on May 20, 2012
Quoting allancalderini:
me too this list usually has inactive seasons but remember they are always exemptions like 1988 in was not inactive in any sense and this could be an exemption.
Very true. Also, before 1999, 2005's naming list was relatively inactive most of the time.
Member Since: May 12, 2012 Posts: 11 Comments: 2870
335. keithneese
1:04 AM GMT on May 20, 2012
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
I e-mailed the NHC and asked if they flying recon tomorrow. The response:

When the decision is made, it will be posted at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/recon.php

Kind regards,

-Dennis

Dennis Feltgen
Public Affairs Officer
Meteorologist
NOAA Communications & External Affairs
National Hurricane Center
Miami, Fla.
305-229-4404
nhc.public.affairs@noaa.gov


So helpful... lol
Member Since: February 7, 2008 Posts: 67 Comments: 186
334. Stormchaser2007
1:04 AM GMT on May 20, 2012
Quoting keithneese:
Does anyone think Alberto has a possibility of reaching hurricane strength before it's all said and done?


I doubt it, but then again...

This time last night, Alberto was a non-tropical convective swirl.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
333. GeoffreyWPB
1:03 AM GMT on May 20, 2012
I e-mailed the NHC and asked if they flying recon tomorrow. The response:

When the decision is made, it will be posted at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/recon.php

Kind regards,

-Dennis

Dennis Feltgen
Public Affairs Officer
Meteorologist
NOAA Communications & External Affairs
National Hurricane Center
Miami, Fla.
305-229-4404
nhc.public.affairs@noaa.gov
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11537
332. ProgressivePulse
1:02 AM GMT on May 20, 2012
Quoting keithneese:
Does anyone think Alberto has a possibility of reaching hurricane strength before it's all said and done?


Not likely however, anything is possible nowadays.
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 5458
331. WxGeekVA
12:59 AM GMT on May 20, 2012
I think what has affected Alberto almost as much as DMIN is the slight uptick in shear on the southern half of the circulation, almost up to 30kts.

Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3477
330. allancalderini
12:59 AM GMT on May 20, 2012
Quoting opal92nwf:
We are using the 2006 hurricane season names. I will always correlate those names with inactivity and fish storms. I wonder how they will compare this year?
me too this list usually has inactive seasons but remember they are always exemptions like 1988 in was not inactive in any sense and this could be an exemption.
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 4467
329. keithneese
12:59 AM GMT on May 20, 2012
Does anyone think Alberto has a possibility of reaching hurricane strength before it's all said and done?
Member Since: February 7, 2008 Posts: 67 Comments: 186

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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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