Tropical Storm Gordon likely to become a hurricane Tuesday

Gordon is expected to strengthen into a hurricane when it hits the central U.S. Gulf Coast late Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm is expected to reach hurricane strength when it hits the Gulf Coast, including coastal MS, by late Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Florence held steady at just below hurricane strength over the eastern Atlantic Ocean early Monday evening, about 1,000 miles west-northwest of the southernmost Cabo Verde Islands.

A hurricane watch is in effect for the area stretching from the mouth of the Pearl River in MS to the Alabama-Florida border.

Gordon is located about 330 miles (530 kilometers) east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River with maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour (95 kilometers/hour), the Miami-based weather forecaster said.

Gordon is expected to dispense 4 to 8 inches of rain over a large swath of the north central Gulf Coast as well as areas farther inland, through central MS and southern Arkansas.

Many replies to various National Weather Service accounts or other outlets with their pleas that the storm veer spontaneously away, as the Gulf coast is still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. It had maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour late Monday.

A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water during the next 36 hours.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said on Sunday he had activated the state's Crisis Action Team as a precaution.

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"Gordon will not be just a coastal event, and not just wind but also water could be damaging, risky and even deadly, especially if preparations are not rushed to completion as early as possible today before tropical storm conditions arrive", said Rick Knabb, The Weather Channel's tropical weather expert. But authorities issued a voluntary evacuation order for areas outside the city's levee protection system, including the Venetian Isles, Lake Saint Catherine and Irish Bayou areas.

Red flags flew over Pensacola-area beaches in Florida's Panhandle, where swimming and wading in the Gulf of Mexico was prohibited.

The NHC's hurricane warning covers all of coastal MS and Alabama, with a tropical storm warning reaching to Morgan City, Alabama, and Florida's Okaloosa-Walton County Line.

And a couple of tornadoes are possible through Monday night across the southern and west-central Florida Peninsula.

The storm is expected to cross from southwest Florida into the Gulf Coast later Monday afternoon.

"With the peak of hurricane season upon us, now is the time to get prepared".

The combination of a risky storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.

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