2:00PM Eastern Update (Monday):
Tropical Storm Gordon is a spinning off of the southwest coast of Florida. Gordon has intensified with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and continues to have an improved structure on satellite and radar (see Fig. 1). 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.
Fig. 1: Latest IR imagery
A Hurricane Watch is in effect from the mouth of the Pearl River to the Alabama/Florida border (see Fig. 2). A Tropical Storm Warning is in place in Florida from Golden Beach to Bonita Beach, and for the Florida Keys from Craig Key to Ocean Reef, including Florida Bay as well as from the Okaloosa/Walton County line in Florida westward to east of Morgan City, Louisiana, including Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas (see Fig.2). Areas along the central and eastern Gulf Coast (including areas inland) need to prepare for heavy rainfall, gusty winds, isolated tornadoes, and rip currents and coastal flooding for immediate coastal areas within the next 24-48 hours. Excessive rainfall totals will be experienced well inland (see Fig. 3). It is possible these totals need to be increased further north into parts of Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas–this is heavily dependent upon the track of Gordon.
Fig. 2: Latest watches/warnings
Fig. 3: Precipitation forecast through 7 days
Gordon should make landfall Tuesday night along or near the Mississippi coast (see Fig. 4). Please note, anyone within the cone, and even locations near the cone, need to keep a close eye on the forecast over the next 24 hours. It is possible the forecasted track may change. This is a fluid situation and tropical storm conditions will begin to be experienced along northern parts of the Gulf coast by Tuesday. A voluntary evacuation order has been issued for Grand Isle, Louisiana and schools have also closed for September 4th in Grand Isle. People are urged to stay up to date along the coast in case local officials issue evacuation orders.
Fig. 4: NHC forecast cone