First Tropical Storm of Season Forms, Could Impact Eastern North Carolina

Tropical Storm Alberto could affect portions of the East over the next few days.

The National Hurricane Center named the first tropical storm of the Atlantic Season today, weeks before hurricane season officially begins.

Alberto is off the coast of South Carolina with top winds of 60 mph (97 kph), but it wasn't threatening land. Forecasters said early Saturday evening that Tropical Storm Alberto was centered about 130 miles (209 kilometers) east of Charleston, S.C.

The storm is expected to turn to the north and northeast by Monday, moving along or near the coast of Eastern North Carolina.

A tropical storm watch could be issued for portions of the coast of North and South Carolina this evening.

The weather service said there will be isolated and scattered rain showers along the coast of the Carolinas into early next week.

A forecast map by the hurricane center predicts that the storm will drift toward the open sea off the Mid-Atlantic region by midweek, but it's difficult to accurately predict a storm's path days in advance.

The official start to hurricane season is June 1, but tropical storms often occur before then.

According to the NHC, Alberto is the earliest forming tropical storm in the Atlantic Basin since Ana in 2003. This is also the first time that a tropical storm has formed before the official start of the hurricane season in both the Atlantic and East Pacific basins.

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