Sci-tech

Gordon may hit Gulf Coast as hurricane after nightfall

Gordon may hit Gulf Coast as hurricane after nightfall

Gordon made landfall Tuesday night near the Alabama-Mississippi border packing strong winds, torrential rain and flash flooding.

Gordon careened into the coastline around 10 p.m., clocking maximum sustained winds of 70 miles-per-hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Gordon is expected to produce 4 to 8 inches of rain over the western Florida Panhandle, southwest Alabama, southern and central MS, northeastern Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, southern Iowa, and IL, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches through early Saturday.

Gordon formed into a tropical storm near the Florida Keys early Monday as it lashed the southern part of the state with heavy rains and high winds.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a state of emergency and authorized the activation of 200 National Guardsmen to be positioned in the southeast of the state.

The storm, which made landfall late on Tuesday, has caused minimal property damage so far, the NHC said, but a two-year-old girl died when a tree fell on a mobile home in Pensacola, Florida, authorities said.

Red flags were posted along the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, warning beach-goers to stay out of the water because of unsafe rip currents. The outages primarily affected Alabama, with cuts also reported around the western edge of the Florida Panhandle around Pensacola as well as in Mississippi. Some areas still recovering from last year's storms could see 30 cm of rain. Siding was peeled off some houses, but Mayor Jeff Collier said "for the most part, we did OK". Gordon is moving to the northwest at 14mph. Tuesday morning, the storm had sustained winds of 70 miles per hour, just below hurricane strength. Workers on at least 54 oil and gas production platforms were evacuated.

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Gordon was not the only storm being watched by forecasters.

Gordon is still expected to move northwestward the next couple days before turning east by this weekend.

Dauphin Island, off the coast of Alabama, took a direct hit.

But much of the storms effects will bypass the Tampa Bay area completely, according to Rodney Wynn, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Ruskin.

Information about roads affected by high water can be found on the Arkansas Department of Transportation's website, IDriveArkansas.com.

As for the possibility of tornadoes, Werner said there is a very low risk. "Now is the time to get your plans all set", director Ken Graham said.

Before a slight decline in wind speed, it was thought that Gordon would be the first Atlantic basin hurricane to make landfall in 2018. It is among three systems in the Atlantic that Florida residents should monitor as we near the peak of hurricane season in just five days.


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