The storm is expected to gain strength as it moves up the Gulf of Mexico and could cause floods in Florida and parts of the Southeast, the National Hurricane Center said.
On Sunday, some U.S. states were recording winds of 50 miles per hour and up to 10 inches of rain, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center director Ken Graham.
As of 11 a.m. ET Saturday, parts of Cuba and the Florida Keys were under a tropical storm warning, and a tropical storm watch is in effect for parts of Florida, Georgia and Louisiana, meaning the conditions for a full storm are possible in the next 48 hours.
Tropical storm watches remain in effect for all coastal Big Bend counties and all of Franklin and Liberty county. Both countries issued tropical storm watches for portions of their coastlines, with rain totals in some isolated areas of up to 25 inches.
His Mississippi and Alabama counterparts also declared states of emergency, citing the threat of coastal and inland flooding from storm rains. A gradual strengthening was expected through the weekend as it moves north.
Subtropical Storm Alberto's trip into the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday brought bands of rain and wind, but little damage into the Tampa Bay area.
"I ask everyone to please make final preparations to your family emergency plan, especially those that live in mobile homes and low-lying areas", Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant said in a statement.
Heavy rain and tropical storm conditions are likely to reach the northern Gulf Coast well ahead of the center of the large storm system.
At least 340 dead people have been killed by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti and the Dominican Republic as the United States braces itself for the worst storm in a decade. There is a threat for a few tornadoes for much of the southern half of Florida, including Tampa, Fort Myers, Miami and West Palm Beach. We are surrounded by corridors of moisture and tropical downpours, however, so the improved weather is not expected to last. The official National Hurricane Center forecast released Thursday said the season is likely to be near or above normal. The storm has been rather disorganized for most of its life over water, which is why it has earned the "subtropical" classification.
Storms in the Gulf are closely watched because 5 percent of USA natural gas and 17 percent of crude-oil production comes out of the region, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Winds of 40 mph extend outward up to 115 miles (185 km) from the center.
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