US & Canada

Alberto, year's first named Atlantic storm, makes Florida landfall

A handout photo made available by NASA Worldview on 27 May 2018 by the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) shows a EOSDIS satellite's view of subtropical storm Alberto to the south west of the Florida Image copyright EPA
Image caption Subtropical storm Alberto picked up pace ahead of the official hurricane season

Subtropical storm Alberto, the first named Atlantic storm of 2018, has made landfall on Florida's north-western coast.

Alberto passed the coast at Laguna Beach with maximum sustained winds of 45mph (72km/h), US meteorologists say.

Thousands of people were earlier evacuated from the Gulf of Mexico coast of Florida.

Alberto later weakened to a depression as it moved inland. The hurricane season formally starts on 1 June.

Alberto is moving northwards at about 12mph, the National Hurricane Center says. Current maximum sustained winds are 35mph.

The NHC adds that the "threat of heavy rains continues".

Many of the northern Florida panhandle's beaches were empty of the crowds typical for Memorial Day - a holiday across the US to remember those who died serving in the country's armed forces.

Before weakening, Alberto was the first named storm of the season, with 21 other names still to be used, including Beryl, Ernesto, Kirk, Nadine and Rafael.

Last year, a number of deadly hurricanes hit the US and Caribbean.

Puerto Rico, for example, is still struggling with its recovery efforts following major infrastructure damage from Hurricane Maria in October.

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