Tropical storm Alberto, the first named storm of the 2006 Atlantic Hurricane season, gained strength early this morning as it drifted through the Gulf Of Mexico. Its path should take it to the Florida Gulf Coast by Tuesday.
Alberto is unlikely to reach hurricane strength, but could dump 5 to 10 inches of rain on Florida's west coast.
The prospect of a wet storm without hurricane-force wind was welcomed by firefighters who have been battling wildfires for six weeks on Florida's east coast.
Still, many people are more prepared than they have been in years past.
Last year's hurricane season was the most destructive on record. Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana and Mississippi and was blamed for more than 1,570 deaths among Louisiana residents alone.