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A tropical wave moved off the coast of Africa on June 18.

It moved westward acro

ss the dry, shear-ridden Atlantic Ocean, and remained weak until passing through
the Greater Antilles. Deep convection developed over the wave in response to li
ght vertical shear and warm waters of the Caribbean Sea, and organized into Trop
ical Depression One near the Isle of Youth on June 30. A trough of low pressure
brought the depression to the northwest over the Gulf of Mexico, remaining weak
due to increased upper level shear. The shear abated, allowing the depression to
strengthen into Tropical Storm Alberto on July 2.
Alberto continued to the north-northeast in response to a short wave trough, and
steadily strengthened as the convection became embedded around the center. Trop
ical Storm Alberto peaked with maximum sustained winds of 65 miles per hour (105
km/h) just as it was making landfall near Destin, Florida. The storm would have
likely attained hurricane status had it been over water just hours longer, as a
warm spot was apparent, indicating the formation of an eye feature. Alberto qui
ckly weakened to a tropical depression over Alabama as it continued to the north
east, but retained a well-organized circulation. High pressures build to its nor
th and east, causing the remnant tropical depression to stall over northwestern
Georgia. It turned to a west drift, and dissipated over central Alabama on July
On June 30, on the day of Alberto's formation, a tropical storm warning was issu
ed from Puerto Jurez to Mrida, Mexico; the warning was discontinued on July 1. In
the United States, a tropical storm watch was posted on July 2 for locations bet
ween Sabine Pass, Texas and Pensacola, Florida. The watch was subsequently upgra
ded to a tropical storm warning from Gulfport, Mississippi to Cedar Key, Florida
; it was soon altered to a hurricane warning. Later on July 3, the hurricane war
ning was discontinued and replaced with a tropical storm warning, which was lift
ed at 2100 UTC.[1]
On the Florida Panhandle, residents boarded up windows in anticipation of what w
as to be a "fury".[2] At gasoline stations, unusually long lines formed, and loc
al stores did increased business in selling emergency supplies.[3] Thousands of
tourists along the coast left the region; a local deputy was quoted as estimatin
g that 10,000 people checked out of their hotels early. On Okaloosa Island and H
oliday Isle, ground-floor house and businesses were forced to evacuate.[4] Civil
-defense authorities evacuated residents from low-lying locations.[5] Then-Gover
nor of Florida, Lawton Chiles, declared a State of emergency for parts of the st
ate, and advised residents along the coast to monitor updates regarding the stor
m.[6] Over 3,000 people sought refuge in Red Cross shelters along the coast of F
lorida, westward into parts of Alabama.[7]