Monday evening update – Hurricane warnings issued for parts of central Gulf Coast

Gordon continued to strengthen Monday, its peak winds rising to 60 mph. It is now forecast to intensify to a Category 1 hurricane when it makes landfall Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

A hurricane warning stretches from the Florida/Alabama border to the Louisiana/Mississipi border. Tropical storm warnings extend to the west through the coast of central Louisiana, including New Orleans, and to the east over the western Florida panhandle.

Damaging winds, several inches of rain – which could cause areas of flooding, and storm surge are all concerns.

The storm surge, which is the rise on ocean water when the storm comes ashore, could reach several feet above normally dry land when the storm is making landfall, especially just to the east of where the center strikes.

From 10:37 a.m.

Tropical Storm Gordon formed Monday morning over the southern tip of Florida. Its forecast path takes the storm directly to the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Gordon passed over the Upper Keys in South Florida on Monday morning as it slid into the Gulf of Mexico.

At the time, peak sustained winds were 45 mph, but wind gusts were in the 50 mph-to-60 mph range. Heavy rain and gusty winds cover all of South Florida, especially in embedded rain bands. On Monday morning, Gordon was moving west-northwest at 17 mph.

Tropical storm warnings are in effect across southern Florida from Miami to Naples. Wind gusts to 60 mph are possible over the next day as the storm slides west. Several inches of rain could fall, though flooding should be limited, according to the National Weather Service.

Tropical storm warnings are also posted in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, where Gordon will likely make landfall early Wednesday morning. The storm will gain strength as it crosses the Gulf of Mexico, though not enough to become a hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Much further east, we are still keeping very close watch on Tropical Storm Florence. Florence is centered 1,700 miles east of the Leeward Islands and poses no threat to anyone for at least a week. But by the middle of next week, the outlook gets hazy, and a North America impact is not out of the question. Long-range tracks from the European model’s ensemble show a lot of spread at such a long lead time, but the possibility of it reaching the U.S. coast certainly exists. Always remember these are not real forecasts, just current model guidance.

Beyond Florence, models consistently show a string of potent tropical waves leaving Africa, so the peak of the season should be active.