Tropical Storm Gordon brings hurricane warning to Gulf Coast

Christopher Davidson
September 5, 2018

Only slight intensification is required for this system to become the first Atlantic hurricane to make landfall in 2018. A storm surge watch spreads west to the mouth of the Mississippi River and east to Navarre, FL.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm is expected to move away from the southwestern Florida coast and reach coastal MS and Louisiana by late Tuesday.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared states of emergency.

Packing winds of 65 miles per hour, the storm is just 9 miles per hour from hurricane-strength, which it is predicted to attain before coming ashore.

Gordon was generating winds of 50 miles per hour (80 km per hour) on Monday as it steamed west-northwest at 16 mph (27 kph), the National Hurricane Center said. An Air Force hurricane hunter is headed into Gordon this morning.

The Hurricane Center issued storm surge warnings from Shell Beach, the MS border with Alabama. This zone is expected to witness the most severe storm effects. Rainfall is likely to come in bands. From there, it is forecast to move inland over the lower Mississippi Valley on Wednesday. Periods of torrential rain and strong winds should continue overnight Tuesday into early Wednesday.

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Flooding was also a high risk for the areas affected by the storm, including portions of southeast Louisiana north of Interstate 10 and southwest MS west of Interstate 55.

As much as 3 to 6 inches of rain is forecast across coastal MS and southeast Louisiana over the next few days, and higher amounts could occur, the weather service said in a news bulletin Monday morning. "Evacuate immediately away from coastal storm surges if instructed by local officials". It is projected to make landfall on the Mississippi Coast early Wednesday with possible winds of 60 miles per hour. Starting Tuesday, however, Florence is forecast to begin weakening.

The National Weather Service said Monday that Naples, Marco Island, and Everglades City in Florida were among the locations that could expect hazardous weather over the next 36 hours.

A storm surge warning has been issued from Shell Beach, Louisiana, to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

Seawater could spill onshore as high as 3 to 5 feet, spelling significant trouble for roads and towns along the coast. This inundation could flood and potentially damage low-lying roads, homes, and businesses. "Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances". According to a report by CNN, 13 million people are under a tropical storm warning as of Monday afternoon, and nearly 2 million people are under hurricane watches and storm surge warnings.

Storm surges, heavy rainfall, strong winds and tornadoes are all possible.

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