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    Tropical Storm Alberto Churns Near South Carolina

    May 20, 2012; 6:09 AM ET
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    Tropical Storm Alberto was captured on this NOAA satellite image Saturday afternoon.

    The first tropical storm of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season continues to churn less than 100 miles off the Southeast coastline.

    Tropical Storm Alberto is located about 90 miles south of Charleston, S.C., or east-southeast of Savannah, Ga., according to the AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center.

    Alberto is a low-end tropical storm with maximum sustained winds near 45 mph.

    Alberto started Satuday as a non-tropical area of low pressure, but quickly acquired tropical characteristics as it churned over the warm waters of the southwestern Atlantic.

    AccuWeather.com Hurricane Forecast: Storms Close to the Coast
    Forecast Factors for the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season
    A Look Back at the 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season

    AccuWeather.com warned that such "home-grown" storms, tropical systems that develop near the coast of the United States, were a possibility when the official 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season forecast was released earlier this year.

    Alberto is expected to meander off the South Carolina coast into Monday before turning northeastward into the open waters of the Atlantic Tuesday, grazing the Outer Banks of North Carolina in the process.

    Alberto could restrengthen slightly during this time, but will never approach or achieve hurricane status.

    The track of Alberto puts the Georgia and Carolina coastline at risk for flooding downpours, gusty winds and rough surf.

    Alberto should bypass the Northeast. However, a turn to more unsettled weather after a fantastic weekend is still in the forecast.

    The development of Alberto is proof that tropical storms and hurricanes are not confined to the dates of the Atlantic hurricane season, which officially runs from June 1 to November 30.

    Tropical Depression One from late May 2009 was the last organized tropical feature to form prior to hurricane season.

    Alberto is the earliest tropical storm to form in the Atlantic since Ana became a tropical storm during the evening hours of April 20, 2003. Subtropical Storm Andrea took shape during the second week of May in 2007, but never became fully tropical.

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