Manatee County and most of the rest of the Gulf Coast are under a tropical storm watch as subtropical storm Alberto takes aim for the Gulf of Mexico.
Subtropical Storm Alberto - the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season - was roiling parts of coastal Mexico and Cuba with rip currents and risky surf on Friday.
A storm surge watch has also been extended and now stretches from the Crystal River in Florida to the mouth of the Mississippi River.
"It doesn't have a real warm core, it's not taking energy from the warm waters, but it does mean that this system is producing winds of tropical storm force, but it's very near the centre".
A tropical storm watch has been declared for the state's panhandle west of Gulf County, and a storm surge watch has also been declared for the panhandle west of Dixie County.
Alberto is forecast to move northward over the weekend, passing the western tip of Cuba on Saturday morning, then turning toward the northwest.More news: CENSUS: McKinney ranks as 9th fastest-growing US city
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In Central Florida, a Flood Watch has been issued through the Memorial Day weekend by the National Weather Service in Melbourne.
"Rainfall accmumulations of 3 to 7 inches with maximum amounts of 10 inches are possible across the Florida Keys and southern and southwestern Florida", the Hurricane Center said.
But Alberto is moving north through the Gulf with "a slow and erratic" path, and the forecast could change significantly.
As of Saturday afternoon, winds of 40 miles per hour are expected from the storm. Weak, brief waterspouts and tornadoes possible.
He said it was not unusual for tropical systems to form outside of the official Atlantic Hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30 annually.
The downpours could dampen Memorial Day, the unofficial start of the summer tourist season along Gulf beaches.