Subtropical storm Alberto became the first tropical weather system of the 2018 hurricane season Friday and may bring heavy rain to Florida, the Gulf Coast, Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula.
Alberto sustained winds of 40 mph and was located 55 miles south of Cozumel, Mexico. The storm was moving toward the north-northeast at about 6 mph. officials said.
A subtropical storm has a less defined and cooler center than a tropical storm and its strongest winds aren’t located in its center. For Alberto to turn into a tropical storm, its top sustained winds would have to gust consistently at 39 mph, but no more than 73 mph.
The National Hurricane Center’s announcement came a day after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that the Atlantic hurricane season was expected to be “close to normal.”
The NOAA said in its forecast that the possibility of a weak El Niño developing, along with near-average sea-surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, will make conditions a little more difficult for storm development than last year.
NOAA forecasters are calling for 10 to 16 named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher, of which 5 to 9 will strengthen into hurricanes. Of those storms, there will be 1 to 4 major hurricanes, which are classified as Category 3, 4, and 5 with winds of 111 mph or higher.
An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes, according to NOAA.
Fox News’ Travis Fedschun and the Associated Press contributed to this report