The Latest: Alberto downgraded to depression, rains persist

Harrison Westwood, 4, left, and his father Ben watch waves crash near the beach as a subtropical approaches on Monday, May 28, 2018, in Pensacola, Fla. The storm gained the early jump on the 2018 hurricane season as it headed toward anticipated landfall sometime Monday on the northern Gulf Coast, where white sandy beaches emptied of their usual Memorial Day crowds. (AP Photo/Dan Anderson)
Emily Muller, left, and her father Bob walk through the rain as Subtropical Storm Alberto makes landfall on Monday, May 28, 2018, in Destin, Fla. (AP Photo/Dan Anderson)
Red flags signal no swimming as a subtropical storm approaches Monday, May 28, 2018, in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. The storm gained the early jump on the 2018 hurricane season as it headed toward anticipated landfall sometime Monday on the northern Gulf Coast, where white sandy beaches emptied of their usual Memorial Day crowds. (AP Photo/Diana Heidgerd)
A person walks along the beach as a subtropical storm approaches Monday, May 28, 2018, in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. The storm gained the early jump on the 2018 hurricane season as it headed toward anticipated landfall sometime Monday on the northern Gulf Coast, where white sandy beaches emptied of their usual Memorial Day crowds. (AP Photo/Diana Heidgerd)
A surfer makes his way out into the water as a subtropical approaches on Monday, May 28, 2018, in Pensacola, Fla. The storm gained the early jump on the 2018 hurricane season as it headed toward anticipated landfall sometime Monday on the northern Gulf Coast, where white sandy beaches emptied of their usual Memorial Day crowds. (AP Photo/Dan Anderson)
A surfer crashes into the water as a subtropical approaches on Monday, May 28, 2018, in Pensacola, Fla. The storm gained the early jump on the 2018 hurricane season as it headed toward anticipated landfall sometime Monday on the northern Gulf Coast, where white sandy beaches emptied of their usual Memorial Day crowds. (AP Photo/Dan Anderson)
Abigail Odom, 15, watches the waves crash as a subtropical storm makes landfall on Monday, May 28, 2018 in Okaloosa Island, Fla. (AP Photo/Dan Anderson)
Emily Muller, left, and her father Bob walk through the rain as Subtropical Storm Alberto makes landfall on Monday, May 28, 2018, in Destin, Fla. (AP Photo/Dan Anderson)
People walk along the beach in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., as a subtropical storm approaches Monday, May 28, 2018. The storm gained the early jump on the 2018 hurricane season as it headed toward anticipated landfall sometime Monday on the northern Gulf Coast, where white sandy beaches emptied of their usual Memorial Day crowds. (AP Photo/Diana Heidgerd)
Terry Wilhite watches as waves crash off the beach as a subtropical approaches on Monday, May 28, 2018, in Pensacola, Fla. The storm gained the early jump on the 2018 hurricane season as it headed toward anticipated landfall sometime Monday on the northern Gulf Coast, where white sandy beaches emptied of their usual Memorial Day crowds. (AP Photo/Dan Anderson)
People walk the beach as a subtropical storm makes landfall on Monday, May 28, 2018 in Okaloosa Island, Fla. (AP Photo/Dan Anderson)
A surfer rides waves as a subtropical approaches on Monday, May 28, 2018, in Pensacola, Fla. The storm gained the early jump on the 2018 hurricane season as it headed toward anticipated landfall sometime Monday on the northern Gulf Coast, where white sandy beaches emptied of their usual Memorial Day crowds. (AP Photo/Dan Anderson)
Rangers with the the National Park Service close off the Highway 399 through Gulf Islands National Seashore as a subtropical storm makes landfall on Monday, May 28, 2018 in Pensacola, Fla. (AP Photo/Dan Anderson)
A surfer rides waves as a subtropical approaches on Monday, May 28, 2018, in Pensacola, Fla. The storm gained the early jump on the 2018 hurricane season as it headed toward anticipated landfall sometime Monday on the northern Gulf Coast, where white sandy beaches emptied of their usual Memorial Day crowds. (AP Photo/Dan Anderson)

The Latest on Subtropical Storm Alberto (all times local):

10:45 p.m.

Forecasters have downgraded Alberto to a subtropical depression but say a flood threat persists as the huge system continues to dump heavy rains.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Alberto, formerly a subtropical storm, weakened Monday evening just hours after making landfall in the Florida Panhandle. As of the 11 p.m. EDT advisory, Alberto was located about 50 miles (80 kilometers) west-northwest of Dothan, Alabama. Its top sustained winds are now down to about 35 mph (55 kph).

Forecasters say the center of the depression is moving to the north near 12 mph (19 kph). The storm is expected to pick up speed in coming hours and move over Alabama later in the night and early Tuesday as it spreads storms around the South.

Forecasters say rains from the farflung system could produce flash flooding in the hours ahead.

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9:15 p.m.

Authorities so far haven't attributed any deaths or injuries directly to Subtropical Storm Alberto. But in North Carolina, a television news anchor and a photojournalist have died when a tree fell on their vehicle as they reported on severe weather on the fringes of the huge system.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol says a large tree toppled Monday on the TV news vehicle near Tryon, North Carolina. Station WYFF-TV of Greenville, South Carolina, says one of its news anchors, Mike McCormick, and photojournalist, Aaron Smeltzer, were killed.

McCormick and Smeltzer had just interviewed Tryon Fire Chief Geoffrey Tennant as they reported on fringe storms in North Carolina, hundreds of miles (kilometers) from the center of Alberto. Tennant says minutes later he got a call "and it was them."

Tennant didn't directly blame Alberto for the deaths, noting the tree became loose in ground already saturated by a week rain.

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7 p.m.

The National Hurricane Center says Subtropical Storm Albert is weakening as it moves inland but poses a threat from heavy rains that could cause dangerous flash flooding.

Forecasters say Alberto's ill-defined core was located over the Florida Panhandle near DeFuniak Springs at 7 p.m. EDT Monday, hours after making landfall on the northern Gulf Coast. The storm is moving northward near 10 mph (17 kph) and has top sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph).

Forecasters say the center of Alberto will rumble over Alabama in coming hours and then the system is expect to spread further over the Tennessee Valley on Tuesday and push later in the week into the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes region.

The Miami-based center says Alberto is expected to become a subtropical depression during the night.

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4:50 p.m.

The National Hurricane Center says Subtropical Storm Alberto has come ashore on the Florida Panhandle.

The Miami-based center said in a 5 p.m. EDT advisory that Alberto's core made landfall Monday at Laguna Beach, Florida, about 15 miles (20 kilometers) west-northwest of Panama City.

Forecasters say heavy rainfall and flash flooding are the biggest threats posed by the storm as it heads inland over the Florida Panhandle. With maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (72 kph), Alberto was moving north at 9 mph (14 kph).

A tropical storm warning is in effect for a stretch of coastline between Aucilla River in Florida's Big Bend and the Alabama-Florida border.

The storm was expected to weaken as it continues moving inland. But forecasters said it will dump heavy rain on parts of the Florida Panhandle, Alabama and Georgia, raising the risk of flash flooding.

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3:15 p.m.

The mayor of Orange Beach, on Alabama's Gulf Coast, says Subtropical Storm Alberto is bringing rain and aggravation but isn't causing any serious problems in his community.

Mayor Tony Kennon said in a phone interview Monday afternoon that the grim forecast kept Orange Beach from having the record crowds that were anticipated. But he says a lot of people braved the weather and showed up anyway.

Kennon says red flags are flying along the beaches to caution people against going in the water and officials are patrolling to make sure people din't ignore the warnings. While he says some people are wading along the water's edge, others are taking refuge in bars and restaurants.

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2 p.m.

Subtropical Storm Alberto is moving closer to the U.S. Gulf Coast, bringing with it heavy rain and the threat of flooding.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Monday, in an advisory released at about 2 p.m. EDT, that the storm was centered around 30 miles (50 kilometers) south-southwest of Panama City, Florida. With maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kilometers), Alberto was moving north at 8 mph (13 kph).

A tropical storm warning is in effect for a stretch of coastline between Florida's Suwannee River and the Alabama-Florida border.

The storm was expected to weaken after it makes landfall later Monday. But forecasters said it will dump heavy rain on the Florida Panhandle, raising the risk of flash flooding and storm surges.

___

8 a.m.

The center of Subtropical Storm Alberto will likely reach the northern U.S. Gulf Coast Monday afternoon or evening.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said in an advisory issued at 8 a.m. EDT that the storm's center was located about 100 miles (165 kilometers) south-southeast of Destin, Florida, and moving north at 6 mph (9 kph).

Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 65 mph (100 kph).

A tropical storm warning remains in effect for an area stretching from Florida's Suwannee River to the border of Alabama and Mississippi.

A storm surge watch remains in effect for much of northern Florida, from the Suwannee to Navarre in the Panhandle. A storm surge watch means life-threatening inundations are possible from rising water moving inland from the coast. Destin and Panama City Beach are within the watch area.

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5:12 a.m.

Subtropical Storm Alberto has gained an early jump on the 2018 hurricane season, heading toward expected landfall sometime Monday on the northern Gulf Coast.

Though the Atlantic hurricane season doesn't officially start until Friday, Alberto has become the first named storm this year, throwing disarray into long holiday weekend plans along Florida's Gulf Coast.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said at 5 a.m. EDT Monday that Alberto was maintaining its strength as it approached the Florida panhandle and was centered about 125 miles (200 kilometers) south of Destin. The storm that was expected to make landfall later Monday had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph).

The Hurricane Center says a tropical storm warning is in effect from the Suwannee River in Florida to the Mississippi-Alabama state line. A tropical storm warning was discontinued from Florida's Anclote River to the Suwannee River.

____

2 a.m.

Subtropical Storm Alberto has gained an early jump on the 2018 hurricane season, heading toward expected landfall sometime Monday on the northern Gulf Coast.

Though the Atlantic hurricane season doesn't officially start until Friday, Alberto has become the first named storm this year, throwing disarray into long holiday weekend plans along Florida's Gulf Coast.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said at 2 a.m. EDT Monday that Alberto was maintaining its strength as it approached the Florida panhandle and was centered about 115 miles (185 kilometers) south-southwest of Panama City. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph) as it approached the northern Gulf of Mexico.

The Hurricane Center says a tropical storm warning is in effect from the Suwannee River in Florida to the Mississippi-Alabama state line. A tropical storm warning was discontinued from Florida's Anclote River to the Suwannee River.

___

11:31 p.m.

Subtropical Storm Alberto has gained an early jump on the 2018 hurricane season, heading toward expected landfall sometime Monday on the northern Gulf Coast.

Though the Atlantic hurricane season doesn't officially start until Friday, Alberto has become the first named storm this year, throwing disarray into long holiday weekend plans along Florida's Gulf Coast.

At 11 p.m. EDT Sunday, Alberto was centered about 205 miles (330 kilometers) west of Tampa and had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph) as it approached the northern Gulf of Mexico.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says a tropical storm warning is in effect from the Suwannee River in Florida to the Mississippi-Alabama state line. A tropical storm warning was discontinued from Florida's Anclote River to the Suwannee River.

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