Deadly Tropical Storm Gordon to batter Mississippi Valley after making landfall Tuesday evening
By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist
September 05, 2018, 8:46:39 AM EDT
Gordon made landfall just east of Biloxi, Mississippi late Tuesday evening, bringing tropical storm-force winds to much of southern Alabama and the western Panhandle of Florida.
The storm formed near the southern tip of the Florida Peninsula on Monday and traveled northwestward across the eastern Gulf of Mexico through Tuesday.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency Monday afternoon ahead of the storm's expected arrival in southeast Louisiana.
A voluntary evacuation was ordered in Grand Isle, Louisiana, Mayor David Camardelle announced on the town's Facebook page on Monday.
Impacts to be severe enough to threaten lives and property
As Gordon moves inland, impacts along the immediate Gulf coast will diminish, but risks from
flash flooding and locally severe storms will continue and may ramp up.
Expect surf and sea conditions to build to dangerous levels over the northeastern and north-central Gulf of Mexico and adjacent shoreline. Bathers should use caution throughout the Gulf coast for occasional large waves and occasionally strong rip currents into midweek.
Tornadoes may also pose a significant threat. Some hurricanes release their energy in the form of tornadoes when they make landfall. Even a minimal hurricane has the potential to unleash a small swarm of tornadoes.
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Sporadic power outages are likely and property damage is possible as the storm moves inland to the northwest across southern Mississippi and northern and eastern Louisiana during Wednesday.
A storm surge of 2 feet is most likely with the potential for a local surge up to 4 feet. The greatest risk for storm surge flooding will extend along the coast from Lake Borgne to Mobile Bay. The flow of air around Gordon will push some water southward over Lake Pontchartrain but far from the conditions that occurred during Katrina.
The lop-sided nature of Gordon will cause the most significant impacts to be on the eastern and northeastern flank of the storm until it moves well inland.
Expect some low-lying coastal roads that typically take on water during above-normal tides to be flooded in the central Gulf coast area.
Flooding to be a significant risk from Gordon
Regardless of Gordon's tropical classification, people should not let their guard down.
Anyone living or traveling through Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola and Panama City, Florida, should be prepare for travel delays and flooding into Wednesday related to direct impacts from Gordon.
Flash flooding is likely from the central Gulf Coast to the lower Mississippi Valley.
Four to 8 inches of rain can fall from the western Florida Panhandle through southern Alabama and into Mississippi. There is the potential for an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 12 inches over the central Gulf coast.
This rainfall will lead to flooding and possibly even some washouts of roadways, according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.
The storm may eventually join up with a non-tropical system across the northern tier of the country and enhance flooding downpours in the nation's midsection.
"This merge would not occur until late in the week and this weekend, but could bring a renewed threat of flooding in parts of the central Plains and Midwest," Sosnowski said.
Meanwhile, Florence has moved well away from the Cabo Verde Islands and is spinning through the central Atlantic this week. Florence became the Atlantic's first major hurricane of the season on Wednesday and has to be watched in the long-term as the storm may strengthen further and could wander close to the coast of the eastern U.S. next week.
There may be other threats from the tropics in the U.S. as well as the Caribbean and Central America over the next couple of weeks.
Download the free AccuWeather app to stay aware of flooding dangers in your area and receive the latest tropical alerts.
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