Alberto: First tropical storm of season forms off S.C. coast

The first tropical storm of the season formed Saturday off the coast of South Carolina but it wasn’t threatening land.

According to the National Hurricane Center’s initial advisory, issued at 5 p.m. EDT, tropical storm Alberto was centered about 140 miles east-southeast of Charleston and had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.

At 6:50 p.m., after getting reports from a ship near the center of the storm, the Hurricane Center said the storm was stronger than had originally been estimated. Maximum sustained winds were thought to be 60 mph and the storm was 130 miles east-southeast of Charleston.

No coastal watches or warnings were in effect, but forecasters said they may issue one later. The Miami-based Hurricane Center said there were no hazards affecting land so far, and the storm’s tropical-strength winds weren’t reaching shore.

Alberto was moving about 3 mph to the southwest.

Alberto’s slow southwestward movement is expected to continue through Sunday before turning toward the west-northwest and then toward the north and northeast by Monday.

Some strengthening is possible over the next day or so.

Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center.

The official start of hurricane season is June 1.

Check back with postandcourier.com for updates as they are available.