Tropical Storm Alberto weakens off SC coast

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP/WIS) - Tropical storm watches have been lifted for the South Carolina coast as the first storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season spins offshore.

The National Hurricane Center said that as of 5 p.m. EDT Sunday, Tropical Storm Alberto was about 130 miles (210 km) south of Charleston. It has maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (72 kph).

It's currently moving southwest, but forecasters expect it to turn northeast sometime Monday. It's not expected to make landfall in the Carolinas.

A tropical storm was in effect for the South Carolina coast from the Savannah River to the South Santee River, but all watches have been dropped as forecasters expect the storm to stay away from the coast.

Alberto was named a tropical storm Saturday upon forming in the Atlantic. The official start to hurricane season is June 1, but tropical storms occasionally occur before then.

WIS Chief Meteorologist John Farley said Alberto is projected to drift in no particular direction and eventually push to the northeast and out to sea within a few days.

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