Starkville Daily News - - AROUND TOWN -

western Ge­or­gia be­fore the storm moves on. Iso­lated del­uges of 12 inches (30 cen­time­ters) also are pos­si­ble.

Fore­cast­ers said Al­berto could then be­come a sub­trop­i­cal de­pres­sion dur­ing the night be­fore spread­ing rains Tues­day over the Ten­nessee Val­ley and later in the week around the Ohio Val­ley and Great Lakes re­gion.

Mean­while, po­ten­tially life-threat­en­ing rough surf and rip cur­rents con­tin­ued on the north­ern Gulf Coast af­ter Al­berto rolled up big waves and tides along the coast. Life­guards posted red flags along the white sands of Pen­sacola Beach, where swim­ming and wad­ing were banned as Al­berto dis­rupted long hol­i­day week­end plans for mil­lions.

The storm forced some Me­mo­rial Day trib­utes to be can­celled across Florida's Pan­han­dle. Safety was the pri­or­ity, but the de­ci­sion was still a "heart­breaker," said Tom Rice, a 29-year-old Army vet­eran who leads the or­ga­ni­za­tions that had planned a cer­e­mony Mon­day at Beal Me­mo­rial Ceme­tery in Fort Wal­ton Beach.

Some strag­glers still made their way through the rain to pay trib­ute at the ceme­tery's Vet­er­ans Trib­ute Tower, how­ever. Rice said Amer­i­can flags had

been placed Satur­day on the graves of all 1,700 vet­er­ans buried in the ceme­tery.

"We got the flags out," Rice told the North­west Florida Daily News as wind whipped a mas­sive U.S. flag fly­ing at half-staff. "That's what's im­por­tant."

Along the Florida Pan­han­dle, tourists vowed Al­berto wouldn't dampen their va­ca­tions.

Ja­son Pow­ell sought to keep his chil­dren en­ter­tained with movies and TV un­til Al­berto blows past his pris­tine Florida va­ca­tion spot.

"So far we've seen a lot of wind and the ocean is re­ally high, cov­er­ing up the en­tire beach," Pow­ell said.

Janet Rhumes said her group of friends from Kansas had been plan­ning their Me­mo­rial Day week­end on Navarre Beach since Oc­to­ber. They stocked up on gro­ceries and set­tled in for card games. "We've never seen one be­fore and we're here cel­e­brat­ing a friend's 20th birth­day," Rhumes told the Daily News. "So how of­ten can you say you rode a storm out?"

Else­where, Florida's Di­vi­sion of Emer­gency Man­age­ment said, about 2,600 cus­tomers were with­out power for a time in north­west­ern Florida on Mon­day.

As Al­berto's cen­ter heads in­land it is be­ing de­prived of the warm wa­ters that fuel trop­i­cal weather sys­tems, caus­ing it to weaken, fore­cast­ers

said. In com­ing hours it was ex­pected to be­come a sub­trop­i­cal de­pres­sion.

A sub­trop­i­cal storm has a less de­fined and cooler cen­ter than a trop­i­cal storm, and its strong­est winds are found far­ther from its cen­ter. And some of its rain bands spread hun­dreds of miles (kilo­me­ters) away from the core of the storm.

Else­where, the North Carolina High­way Pa­trol said, a large tree top­pled on a news tele­vi­sion ve­hi­cle Mon­day near Tryon, North Carolina. WYFFTV of Greenville, South Carolina, said a news an­chor, Mike McCormick, and pho­to­jour­nal­ist, Aaron Smeltzer, with that sta­tion were both killed.

McCormick and Smeltzer had just in­ter­viewed Tryon Fire Chief Ge­of­frey Ten­nant as they cov­ered storms in North Carolina.

"Ten min­utes later we get the call and it was them," Ten­nant said at a news con­fer­ence, his voice crack­ing.

Ten­nant did not di­rectly blame the up to 2 inches (5 cen­time­ters) of rain that fell Mon­day from the fringes of Al­berto for the deaths. He said the roots of a large tree that top­pled on the ve­hi­cle came loose from ground sat­u­rated by a week's worth of ear­lier rain.

The men died in­stantly, their TV ve­hi­cle's en­gine still run­ning, Ten­nant said.

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