Published: Wed, September 05, 2018
Sci-tech | By Eric Barnett

Calm before the storm Tuesday; Gordon moves in Wednesday — ALERT DAY

Calm before the storm Tuesday; Gordon moves in Wednesday — ALERT DAY

Coastal residents from Florida to Louisiana hustled to prepare for a deluge as Tropical Storm Gordon grew stronger on a path to hit the coast as a hurricane Tuesday night (local time).

A child was killed Tuesday in Pensacola, Florida as Gordon whipped the Alabama and western Florida Panhandle coasts with tropical storm-force winds and heavy downpours, a spokeswoman with the Escambia County Sheriff's Office said.

Gordon was about 35 miles (55 km) south-southwest of Mobile, Alabama and was packing maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour (110 km/h) after making landfall, the Miami-based weather forecaster said.

A hurricane warning remained in effect from the mouth of the Pearl River to the Alabama-Florida border, as did a tropical storm warning for the Alabama-Florida border to the Okaloosa-Walton County line. If Gordon's wind speeds reach 74 miles per hour (119 km/h), the storm will be classified as a hurricane, according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

"This storm has every possibility to track further in our direction", Edwards said during a news conference Monday evening.

In anticipation of heavy rains, the Flood Protection Authority-East (FPA) has closed 21 floodgates on the Lake Borgne Surge Barrier near New Orleans, according to a press release.

"There is a non-tropical storm west of Gordon that is causing some of the wind shear", Sosnowski said.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said the city has "the pumps and the power" needed to protect residents.

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A vehicle drives along a road slowly beginning to flood as tropical storm Gordon approaches in Dauphin Island, Ala.

The U.S. Gulf Coast refineries represent more than 45 percent of the national refining capacity, and the Gulf of Mexico yields 17 percent of the country's total oil production.

"We're expecting an increase in winds", Miller said in a telephone interview.

A number of schools across Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and MS will not open Tuesday and others announced they would close early ahead of the storm's arrival. "I think when you look at how rough the water is today, it's pretty self-explanatory". "Sometimes it starts pushing not only water across but debris, logs and things of that nature, which makes it very treacherous to get across", said Jeff Collier, mayor of Dauphin Island, Alabama.

The National Weather Service in North Little Rock said rainfall would likely approach southeast Arkansas on Wednesday.

Storm surge of 1 to 5 feet will be possible along the MS and southeastern Louisiana coastline near landfall. Hurricane Florence was some 2,400 miles (3,900 kilometers) away from the USA, and lining up behind it, another potential storm was likely to form not far off the coast of Africa.

There are no watches or warnings in effect as Florence is in the open waters.

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