Storm Gordon kills one after landfall, likely to weaken

Storm Gordon
Storm Gordon descends on Miami, Florida, on Monday in this video grab obtained from social media. Video Grab: Ryan RC Rea via Reuters

Gulfport/Washington: Tropical Storm Gordon made landfall late on Tuesday on the US Gulf Coast, killing a child and leaving thousands without electricity as it rushed ashore with gusting winds and heavy rain, reports said.

The storm struck along the border of Alabama and Mississippi with winds blowing at up to 112 kmph. The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that the storm is expected to weaken to a tropical depression on Wednesday morning.

Authorities declared a state of emergency in both states and in New Orleans in Louisiana - devastated in 2005 by mega hurricane Katrina.

Storm clouds loom over a beach as Tropical Storm Gordon approaches Waveland, Mississippi, US | Photo: Reuters

The fatality came in Pensacola, Florida when a tree fell on a mobile home and killed a child, the National Weather Service said. Pensacola International Airport has reported more than 4 inches of rain, the heaviest total reported so far along the Gulf Coast.

Gordon was expected to flood coastal areas and dump heavy rains in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.

A second Atlantic storm, Florence, meanwhile grew into a Category 2 Hurricane over open seas.

Its maximum sustained winds have increased to 160 km per hour but it was not presently threatening any inhabited land.

Storm Gordon descends on Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US | Photo: Reuters

The storm is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 4 to 8 inches over the western Florida Panhandle, southwest Alabama, southern and central Mississippi, northeastern Louisiana, and southern Arkansas, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches through late Thursday, the NHC added.

Thousands of people were without power as Tropical Storm Gordon made landfall late on Tuesday just west of the Alabama-Mississippi border.

The NHC said Gordon struck about 10 pm. and the storm is forecast to quickly weaken as it moves inland across Mississippi, Louisiana, and into Arkansas through Thursday. It did not reach hurricane status.

The Center also said Gordon's tight core was about 30 kilometres southeast of Biloxi, Mississippi, or about 55 kilometres south of Mobile, Alabama, where heavy rains and winds picked up shortly before nightfall.

The storm was producing gusty winds and heavy rain along the coast of the western Florida Panhandle and along the Texas coast, the National Hurricane Center said in an afternoon advisory.

Sea levels could rise as much as 5 feet (1.5 m) from Shell Beach, Louisiana, to Dauphin Island, Alabama, forecasters said. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency told South Mississippi residents to be prepared to evacuate.


The US Coast Guard said the ports of New Orleans and Gulfport and Pascagoula, Mississippi, may have to close within 48 hours.

Last year, hurricanes hit Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, causing widespread destruction and thousands of deaths.

The Inn at Ocean Springs and the Roost Hotel in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, had guests planning to ride out the storm, said Kristin Smith, general manager of both hotels.

"A lot of guests are real comfortable sticking it out in our rooms," Smith said in a telephone interview. "Any of our guests who feel like they want to go home we encourage them to follow their instincts."

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