Tropical storm heads to US Gulf Coast

Tropical storm heads to US Gulf Coast

NHC forecasters say that gradual strengthening is expected during the next 24 hours, and Gordon is forecast to be a hurricane when it makes landfall along the north-central Gulf Coast.

What has so far been called Potential Tropical Cyclone Seven is set to drench parts of the Florida-Alabama border by Tuesday night, dropping as much as 8 inches (20 cm) of rain in some areas still reeling from hurricanes a year ago.

The impact on the coast from Alabama and Northwest Florida to MS and Louisiana will be significantly bigger: heavy rain, damaging winds, occasional tornadoes, coastal flooding, and deadly rip currents.

The National Hurricane Center is projecting Gordon to have winds up to 60 miles per hour by the time it reaches the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Parts of the northern Gulf Coast could see 3 to 6 inches rainfall Tuesday into Wednesday, from southeast Louisiana into far southern MS and far southern Alabama, according to the Weather Channel.

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More than a half foot of rain was reported along the coast near Galveston. "Evacuate immediately away from coastal storm surges if instructed by local officials".

Even as the system was weakening into a remnant low it still posed threats as it moved inland on a forecast track that would take its center northwest into Arkansas, then northeast toward the Great Lakes. The region could see rising waters of 3ft to 5ft.

"The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to the east of the landfall location, where the surge will be accompanied by large waves", the center said.

"This is the price you pay to look at this lovely water and enjoy the coast", Pascagoula resident Richard Whitlock said as he raked leaves and branches from his yard overlooking the Gulf.

Dominic Carlucci drove back to his home on the barrier island in his Hummer, and found no damage, just a sagging wooden fence.

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The system is expected to become a tropical storm by Monday evening, at which point it will be named Gordon.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency warned of storm surges of between 1 and 1.5 metres and told South Mississippi residents to be prepared to evacuate.

At least 300 people were displaced in Riley County, Kansas, after the area was struck by heavy rain and significant flooding.

Meanwhile, Florence continues to hold steady over the eastern Atlantic, about 1,240 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands and 1,270 miles east of the Lesser Antilles.

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