Gordons winds reach 60 miles per hour; tropical storm warning up for Emerald Coast

Cristina Cross
September 6, 2018

Tropical storm Gordon continued to intensify in the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida Peninsula Monday afternoon as winds increased to 50 miles per hour. The improved structure as favorable environmental conditions suggest further strengthening is likely and Gordon should become a hurricane over the next 24-36 hours before landfall across the central Gulf Coast.

The Miami-based center said in a statement Sunday evening that a storm surge watch has been issued from the Mississippi-Alabama border westward to the Mouth of the Mississippi River.

"It looks like for the next three or four days we're going to be having to really watch close", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said in a video briefing on Facebook, according to Reuters. Forecasters said radar spotted possible tornados spun off by the storm overnight in southern Alabama and the Florida panhandle.

Gordon is the seventh named tropical storm or hurricane to form in the Atlantic basin this year.

Two woman covered from the rain with umbrellas as they walk in Miami as Tropical Storm Gordon passes by South Florida with wind gust and heavy rainfall for the Labor Day holiday on Monday, Sept. 3, 2018.

Meteorologists were also tracking Tropical Storm Florence Monday, which was moving west with sustained winds of almost 70 mph about 1,400 miles east of the Lesser Antilles islands.

Gordon is expected to continue on its current track or maybe a little more northwestward while continuing to strengthen.

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Various watches and warnings are in effect for portions of the Gulf Coast from Florida Bay to east of Morgan City, La.

Gordon's top sustained winds were down to 40 mph (64 kph) as its tight core moved about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. "All preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion, as tropical storm conditions are expected to arrive in the warning areas Tuesday afternoon".

A storm surge warning is also in effect for Shell Beach eastward to Dauphin Island, Alabama.

Schools in parts of coastal Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and MS were closed Tuesday, and others announced they would open for only part of their normal day.

"It's something to keep an eye on, for sure", said Ryan Ellis, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Raleigh. The storm is on track to continue moving west-northwest toward the island of Bermuda through Thursday morning.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center.

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