Days before the official start of “hurricane season,” the first named storm of the year has already formed over the Atlantic Ocean.
Subtropical storm Alberto, which formed early on Friday just east of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is now dumping heavy rainfall on Cuba and is slowly making its way north across the Gulf of Mexico. As it heads for Florida and Mississippi, it could cause “flash flooding, rip currents, strong winds, coastal flooding and tornadoes,” according to The Weather Channel.
Florida and Mississippi have already declared a state of emergency, with Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant authorizing the use of the National Guard.
“Everyone in our state must be prepared,” said Florida Governor Rick Scott in a statement.
For now, visitors to Cuba and parts of Southern Florida are seeing heavy rains and thunderstorms mar some of their Memorial Day beach plans.
In total, Cuba could get up to 15 inches of rain, according to the National Hurricane Center. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Cuba’s Pinar del Rio province, as well as the Dry Tortugas in Florida.
Additionally, the Florida Keys and other parts of South Florida can expect up to 10 inches of rain. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the areas that cover Boca Grande to Anclote River, Aucilla River to Grand Isle, and Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas.
Alberto is expected to move over the eastern Gulf of Mexico through Monday, and then approach the northern Gulf Coast by late Monday or Monday night. Heavy rainfall and tropical storm conditions are expected to reach the region “well before” the arrival of Alberto’s center. Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph and gradual strengthening is forecast until the system reaches the northern Gulf Coast by Monday night, said the National Hurricane Center in its 2:00 p.m. EDT update.
Last year’s hurricane season was catastrophic for many Caribbean nations as well as parts of the United States. When Hurricane Irma made landfall, it was the first time in more than 100 years that two Category 4 hurricanes hit land in the same year.
Despite, Alberto’s early arrival, the National Hurricane Center says there’s a 65 percent chance that the 2018 hurricane season will be near-normal or below normal.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists predict (with a 70 percent likelihood) that there will be 10 to 16 named storms, of which five to nine will become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher) and up to four could become major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher.)
An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.
The 2017 season had “above normal” activity, with 17 named storms, of which 10 became hurricanes, including six major hurricanes.
Note: This story is developing, please check back for updates.
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Which States Now Require Domestic Travelers to Self-Quarantine?
Maine became the latest state to issue an executive order, released by the Governor’s office on April 3, 2020, requiring that inbound domestic travelers self-quarantine for fourteen days upon arrival in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.
While the federal government has not moved to restrict domestic travel within the U.S., USA Today indicated that the governors of at least twelve states are taking action to discourage interstate movements by announcing quarantine requirements on outside visitors, as well as residents returning home from other states. With the coronavirus now spreading quickly through American communities, governors of 40 states have also issued stay-at-home orders for their residents.
While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that that it “does not generally issue advisories or restrictions for travel within the United States,” the intense community spread of the novel coronavirus prompted the organization to issue a domestic Travel Advisory, “urging residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately.” These East Coast states have rapidly emerged as the epicenter of the current COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S.
The state’s order requires incoming travelers to go straight from the airport to their “designated quarantine location” (referring to residents’ homes, or visitors’ hotel rooms or rented lodgings). They must remain there, avoiding all nonessential outings for fourteen days or the duration of their visit, if it’s shorter than two weeks.
Delaware requires all out-of-state travelers to self-quarantine for fourteen days, including those who arrived during the fourteen days prior to March 30, 2020. Law enforcement officers are authorized to stop any vehicles with out-of-state plates.
Florida requires those on arriving flights from the New York tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut) to quarantine for fourteen days or the duration of their stay, if it’s shorter. A separate order requires people driving in from Louisiana to self-quarantine and highway checkpoints have been established.
All visitors and residents arriving at Hawaiian airport must fill out a declaration form and proceed straight to their “designated quarantine location”, remaining there for fourteen days or, if it’s shorter, the length of their stay. The state now requires anyone traveling between any of the islands to do the same.
Kansas has mandated that residents who traveled to California, Florida, New York, Washington on or after March 15; Illinois or New Jersey on or after March 23; or Colorado and Louisiana on or after March 27 must self-quarantine for fourteen days after returning to Kansas.
Kentucky has instructed its residents not to travel to other states (with certain exceptions) and those returning from outside the state are required to self-quarantine for fourteen days.
Maine is requiring any travelers entering the state to self-quarantine for fourteen days, also requesting that anyone experiencing symptoms refrain from going there.
visitors are being urged not to travel to Massachusetts if they are experiencing coronavirus symptoms, and all incoming travelers are obliged to self-quarantine for fourteen days.
Nevada has released a travel advisory encouraging all residents and visitors alike to self-quarantine for fourteen days, except for certain essential personnel.
North Dakota issued a confinement order for those arriving to the state from any of 23 states or from abroad to self-quarantine for fourteen days, and recommends that snowbirds and spring-breakers do the same.
Oklahoma’s executive order requires those coming off of flights from the New York tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut), Washington state, California or Louisiana to quarantine for fourteen days.
Rhode Island has instituted a fourteen-day self-quarantine for persons traveling in from any other state.
South Carolina is imposing a fourteen-day self-quarantine on people who enter the state from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or New Orleans.
Fourteen-day self-quarantine orders now apply to travelers arriving from Atlanta California Chicago, Connecticut, Detroit, Louisiana, Miami, New Jersey, New York and Washington state. Highway checkpoints have been set up to collect a declaration form from Louisiana drivers at the states’ shared border.
Vermont is requiring both visitors and returning residents traveling into Vermont “for anything other than an essential purpose” to self-quarantine for fourteen days. The executive order also instructed anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, as well as those bound from coronavirus “hot spots”, such as Chicago Connecticut Detroit Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey and New York, not to come to Vermont.
West Virginia is compelling anyone coming in from New Jersey, New York, Louisiana, Italy or China to self-quarantine for fourteen days, with exemptions made for those who commute into or out of the state for work.
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