Tropical Storm Gordon lashes south Florida and heads toward Gulf Coast

Tropical Storm Gordon lashes south Florida and heads toward Gulf Coast

Tropical Storm Gordon lashes south Florida and heads toward Gulf Coast

As Gordon crosses the Florida peninsula and into the Gulf of Mexico it is expected to gradually strengthen during the next 48 hours. And bands swept up from the Gulf, dropping more rain on northwest Florida - where 10.48 inches (26.6 centimeters) had already fallen at Florida's Pensacola International Airport by Wednesday morning - through the center of Alabama and into Tennessee.

The National Hurricane Center said Gordon's tight core was about 75 miles (125 kilometres) southeast of Biloxi, Mississippi, or about 70 miles (115 kilometres) south of Mobile, Alabama, where heavy rains and winds picked up shortly before nightfall.

The Hurricane Center issued storm surge warnings from Shell Beach, La.to the MS border with Alabama.

The storm is expected to make landfall in the southern Louisiana area around New Orleans between 7 and 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Later this week, the remnants of Gordon are forecast to merge with a cold front in the Midwest and bring more rain and flooding to Arkansas and Missouri.

After forming near the Florida Keys Monday morning and moving west-northwest into the Gulf of Mexico, Gordon brought winds of almost 50 miles per hour and sometimes heavy rains over Tampa Bay by midday.

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Authorities across the Gulf Coast urged people to stay out of the water - warnings that beach lovers like Cameron Armstrong and Matthew Ewbanks ignored on their visit to Gulf Shores on the Alabama Gulf Coast. We'll increase the clouds as the day goes on and also look for a few isolated downpours after 6PM, particularly south of US-82.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency told South Mississippi residents to be prepared to evacuate. A storm surge warning was extended east to Dauphin Island. The region could see rising waters of 3ft to 5ft.

"The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to the east of the landfall location, where the surge will be accompanied by large waves", the centre said.

"This is the price you pay to look at this attractive water and enjoy the coast", Pascagoula resident Richard Whitlock said as he raked leaves and branches from his yard overlooking the Gulf.

The warning is related to potential Tropical Cyclone 7 which, if it organizes into a tropical storm, will become Tropical Storm Gordon.

Well out into the Atlantic Ocean, Tropical Storm Florence continues to move west-northwestward as it flirts with hurricane strength. Rapid weakening is forecast after Gordon moves inland, and Gordon is forecast to become a tropical depression on Wednesday.

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