Alberto had top sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph) early Friday and was located 55 miles (90 kilometers) south of Cozumel, Mexico.
Should the weather pattern become a full-fledged storm, with winds of at least 39 miles per hour, it would be named Tropical Storm Alberto.
Tropical storm and storm surge watches continued on Saturday for a long stretch on the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida, including all of Alabama's coastline.
Rainfall totals of 4 to 8 inches with maximum amounts of 12 inches were possible across the Florida Keys and southern and southwestern Florida.
Alberto is early; hurricane season doesn't start officially until June 1.
The area of low pressure is forecasted to move into the Gulf of Mexico where conditions could become more favorable for organization.
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The Storm Surge Watch is in effect from Horseshoe Beach in Florida's Dixie County Florida to the mouth of the Mississippi River.
Heavy rain will likely begin to affect the central Gulf Coast region and the southeastern USA later this weekend and continue into early next week.
The system is forecast to bring an estimated 3-6 inches of rain to Tampa Bay over the weekend, said Rodney Wynn, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Ruskin. If the storm goes east of the projected track, the impacts will lessen. Highs will reach the mid-80s across the area with very high humidity levels. Subtropical Storm Alberto has formed near the Gulf of Mexico, and will track closer to the Gulf coast through the holiday weekend, sending widespread rain to the southeast. Temperatures will be in the upper 90s Memorial Day weekend and will approach triple digits next week.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that this will be an active hurricane season, with perhaps 10 to 16 named storms and five to nine hurricanes.
Forecasters at the National Weather Service warned residents along coastal Alabama and MS as well as the Florida Panhandle to brace for heavy rain and high winds.