First tropical storm of the season forms off S.C. coast (Updated)

National Hurricane Center

Update May 21: Tropical Storm Alberto continues to churn in the Atlantic, southeast of Savannah — and it's still looking like the early storm will pose little direct risk to the Lowcountry.

Forecasters expect the storm to drift a bit more east (after having traveled south from its prior position closer to Charleston) before turning northeast later today and hopefully cruise off the eastern seaboard without causing much damage or much strengthening. 

"Even though Alberto has moved back over the Gulf Stream, where sea surface temperatures are relatively warm, very dry air around the cyclone and strong west-southwesterly shear should suppress significant strengthening", wrote the National Weather Service in their latest update.

However the lowcounty's beaches are seeing impact from Alberto's increased wave activity. 

Beaufort-area waves are expected to be mildly better at around 2 feet today — it's good for area surfers but it will only compound area erosion issues.

We'll be sure to keep you updated at the storm continues.

First reporting: This just in from the National Weather Service: Tropical Storm Alberto has formed off the coast of the Carolinas.

Forecasters say tropical storm Alberto was centered about 140 miles east of Charleston on Saturday afternoon. Top wind speeds have been clocked at with top winds of 45 mph.

Alberto is earliest-forming tropical storm in the Atlantic basin since Ana in 2003. This is also the first time that a tropical storm has formed before the official start of the hurricane season in both the Atlantic and East Pacific basins.

Here's a link to the National Hurricane Center page where you can keep an eye on Alberto's movements.

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