Gordon is expected to make landfall tonight as the fourth named hurricane of the season. The strong tropical storm is forecast to strengthen in the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday evening as it moves northward. Conditions are favorable due to the warmer waters and the lack of strong winds aloft.
The outer rain bands of Gordon have been bringing squalls and heavy rain to the western Florida panhandle as the tropical storm moves closer to making landfall along the north-central Gulf coast in Mississippi tonight.
Hurricane Warnings are in effect from the Mouth of the Pearl River to the Alabama-Florida line with a Tropical Storm Warning from the Alabama-Florida border to the Okaloosa-Walton county line.
Tropical storm force winds extend up to 80 miles from the center of the storm. The strongest winds and largest storm surge are found on the right quadrant or eastern side of a tropical storm. This is due to the counter clockwise flow around the storm as it makes landfall.
The surge is accompanied by large waves as the winds push the water onshore on the east side. A storm surge of 2 to 4 feet is forecast from Navarre, Florida to Dauphin Island, AL and 3 to 5 feet from Shell Beach to Dauphin Island.
Total rainfall accumulation from Gordon is expected to be between 4 to 8 inches over the western Florida panhandle and southwest AL. Flash flooding could occur in some areas.
There is a risk this afternoon and tonight for a few tornadoes to develop near the coasts of Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida panhandle as the tropical system approaches landfall.