Tropical Storm Gordon Nears Hurricane-force Winds as it Slams Into Gulf Coast

Tropical Storm Gordon, which may ramp up to become a Category 1 hurricane before it makes landfall late Tuesday, brought tropical-storm force winds to the Alabama and western Florida Panhandle coasts.

The National Hurricane Center said Gordon should weaken rapidly after it moves inland from the central Gulf Coast, but that doesn’t diminish concerns about flooding. It could bring potentially life-threatening storm surge across parts of coastal Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Seawater could spill onshore as high as 3 to 5 feet, spelling significant trouble for roads and towns along the coast.

“If you are less than 3 to 5 feet above sea level (in the warning area), you need to get away from that water, especially up those rivers, because that’s where that water will be going,” CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.


In Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, workers cleared tables and chairs from the outdoor seating area of a bar. “This is a serious squall,” said Raleigh Murphy, owner of Dan B’s Restaurant and Bar. “It’s part of life on the Gulf Coast, just something we have to deal with.”

After marching up from the Florida Keys and lashing South Florida on Monday with rain, Gordon was centered Tuesday evening over the Gulf of Mexico, about 75 miles southeast of Biloxi, Mississippi, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.

Gordon is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane, with sustained winds of at least 74 mph, before it reaches the north central Gulf Coast, the National Hurricane Center said.

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SOURCE: Jason Hanna, Ed Lavandera, and Nick Valencia