Thousands of Floridians evacuate for Tropical Storm Alberto

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Twenty thousand residents in the Gulf Coast of central Florida were ordered to evacuate Monday as Tropical Storm Alberto approaches the coast. Alberto, the first Atlantic tropical storm of this summer, had a maximum windspeed of 70 mph (110 km/h).

The current forecast takes Alberto through Florida and carries it over the Eastern seaboard afterwards. Current storm watches and warnings are highlighted on the map. Source: National Hurricane Center

Florida Governor Jeb Bush declared a state of emergency, which allows him to call up National Guard troops to help with disaster efforts. "We're talking about powerful forces of nature," Bush said. "People need to take this seriously."

As of 11 a.m. CDT June 13 (1500 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Alberto was located near latitude 29.8°N and longitude 83.8°W, or about 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Tallahassee, Florida. The storm was moving to the northeast at 9 mph (15 km/h), and had a minimum central pressure of 996 mbar (29.41 inHg). Windspeed was measured at 50 mph (85 km/h). The National Hurricane Center has issued a tropical storm warning for the Gulf coast of Florida between Bayport and the Indian Pass, and the Atlantic coast from South Santee River in South Carolina to Flagler Beach in Florida.

Alberto came ashore about 50 miles (85 km) southeast of Tallahassee, Florida at 12:30 p.m. CDT June 13 (1630 UTC), making it the earliest storm in 40 years to hit the United States, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. The earliest on record was Hurricane Alma, which took a similar path and hit Florida's west coast on June 9, 1966.

Scientists say that in this year's hurricane season, 16 named storms could form, with six of them being major hurricanes. Last year's storm season was the most active on record, with 28 named storms and 15 hurricanes.


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