Tornado confirmed in Alabama as Gordon hit

Here is the very latest on Gordon, which is expected to make landfall as a hurricane Tuesday night.

Posted: Sep 4, 2018 6:57 PM
Updated: Sep 5, 2018 9:25 AM

(WTVA/AP) — Here is the very latest on Gordon, which is expected to make landfall as a hurricane Tuesday night:

09/05/18 9 a.m.

Don Shepherd, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mobile, Alabama, told the Pensacola News Journal a tornado was confirmed overnight near Whiting Naval Air Station in Milton as Tropical Storm Gordon hit the area.

The tornado was spotted about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of the Pensacola mobile home park where a child was killed by a falling tree limb. Shepherd did not have damage reports from the small twister.

Gordon weakened to a tropical depression Wednesday morning and is expected to continue weakening as it moves inland.

10:00 p.m.

Tropical-force winds from fast-moving Gordon smashed into the coastline of Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle on Tuesday evening, the frontal edge of a system just offshore that forecasters warned could become a hurricane by the time it makes landfall.

Tropical Storm Gordon strengthened some in the final hours as it neared the central Gulf Coast, clocking top sustained winds of 70 mph 110 kph). However, the National Hurricane Center said Gordon is making landfall just west of the Alabama-Mississippi line without reaching hurricane status.

More than 27,000 customers are without power Tuesday night as Tropical Storm Gordon began pushing ashore. Those outages are mostly in coastal Alabama and include the western tip of the Florida Panhandle around Pensacola, with a few hundred in southeastern Mississippi. The number of outages has been rising rapidly after dark Tuesday night as Tropical Storm Gordon's wind and rain began to take a toll on the Gulf Coast's power grid.

___

6:05 p.m.

Gusty winds and heavy rains have started to buffet the Alabama coast as Tropical Storm Gordon nears.

Skies quickly turned from partly cloudy to dark gray as storms spread over the port city of Mobile on Tuesday evening. Radar showed the center of the storm was about 90 miles south in the Gulf of Mexico.

Metal chairs were lashed together atop tables outside a restaurant in what's normally a busy entertainment district in Mobile, and a street musician played to an empty sidewalk as rain fell.

A tornado warning was issued nearby in the Florida panhandle. No damage was immediately reported. The National Hurricane Center says tornados are possible as Gordon gets closer to shore.

Most area schools and businesses closed early as Gordon approached, and many planned to remain close or open late on Wednesday.

___

5:37 p.m.

The Mississippi Department of Corrections says it moved more than 200 people from the Gulf Coast in advance of Tropical Storm Gordon.

The inmates were moved from the Harrison County Community Work Center, the Pascagoula Restitution Center and the Harrison County Jail to other MDOC facilities 

___

4:50 p.m.

Winds are beginning to kick up as Tropical Storm Gordon moves toward the central Gulf Coast.

Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida reported winds of 26 mph (42 kph) with gusts as high as 37 mph (60 kph) around 2 p.m. Tuesday.

An automated buoy south of Orange Beach, Alabama reported sustained winds of 40 mph (64 kph) with a gust up to 60 mph (97 kph), while a buoy south of Dauphin Island, Alabama, reported waves as high as 13 feet (nearly 4 meters).

Vacationers John and Robin Berry were visiting the barrier island from Nashville, Tennessee. A rental company moved them from their beachfront home across the street because the beach has no protective dunes.

Robin Berry says they accepted the offer to stay on the island.

___

4:34 p.m.

From the Mississippi National Guard:

Approximately 50 Mississippi National Guardsmen are along the Mississippi Gulf Coast in preparation for possible support in response to Tropical Storm Gordon. The personnel will be available for possible support ranging from security operations, search and rescue missions and removing debris from lines of communication to providing communications support.

___

4 p.m.

Forecasters say Tropical Storm Gordon has strengthened a little as it approaches the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the center of the storm is about 95 miles (155 kilometers) southeast of Biloxi, Mississippi.

Gordon's top sustained winds have now reached 70 mph (110 kph). Forecasters say it could still reach the 74 mph (120 kph) threshold to become a hurricane before hitting land late Tuesday.

Heavy rain is already falling over western Florida and is expected to spread west along the coast to New Orleans.

A hurricane warning is in effect for all the Alabama and Mississippi coast. Forecasters say the region could see life-threatening, rising waters of 3 to 5 feet (0.9 to 1.5 meters).

___

3:10 p.m.

Tropical Storm Gordon has disrupted some oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico and closed casinos in Mississippi.

The federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement says workers on at least 54 production platforms have been evacuated in advance of Gordon. That is about 8 percent of the staffed platforms in the Gulf and about 9 percent of the region's oil and natural gas production.

In Mississippi, state officials are ordering 12 casinos along the Gulf Coast to close as Gordon approaches.

Mississippi Gaming Commission Executive Director Allen Godfrey says the commission has ordered gambling halls to close at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Such closures are typical in advance of tropical storms and hurricanes, because casinos are in waterfront locations. While casinos themselves typically don't flood, access roads and parking areas often do.

___

2:55 p.m.

Workers are uprooting traffic signal boxes along a beachfront highway in Mississippi and lowering tall traffic lights in advance of the arrival of Tropical Storm Gordon.

Mississippi Department of Transportation spokesman Jason Scott says about 50 signal control boxes are being removed along U.S. 90, which parallels the Mississippi Sound and could go underwater in Gordon's storm surge.

Workers are also lowering dozens of lights from high masts along nearby Interstate 10.

The DOT is locking three drawbridges into place, meaning no more tall boats can move inland to safety. Workers will then remove long-armed warning gates to keep them from blowing away.

Crews are also on standby to remove sand and debris from U.S. 90 and other roadways after the storm.

Forecasters say Gordon should become a hurricane shortly before striking land along or near the Mississippi coast late Tuesday.

___

2:35 p.m.

A barrier island on Alabama's coast is virtually abandoned as Tropical Storm Gordon moves toward a landfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Water was already over part of the main road on Dauphin Island south of Mobile on Tuesday afternoon, and big waves broke just yards from beachfront homes built on stilts.

But few people were around, partly because the Labor Day holiday ended the traditional beach season.

A few tourists stood on a public beach taking photos and a taco shop had a few customers at lunchtime. Most parking areas were empty, however.

Light winds on the island are forecast to strengthen during the evening hours.

Forecasters say Gordon should become a hurricane shortly before striking land along or near the Mississippi coast late Tuesday.

___

2:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the federal government is ready to help anyone in Tropical Storm Gordon's path.

The president said in a message on Twitter that anyone affected by the storm needs to follow the advice of state and local leaders and seek updates from the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Forecasters say Gordon should become a hurricane shortly before striking land along or near the Mississippi coast late Tuesday.

If Gordon becomes a hurricane, it would be the first hurricane to strike the U.S. since Nate came ashore in Biloxi, Mississippi, last October.

___

1:35 p.m.

The U.S. Coast Guard has closed three Gulf Coast ports as Tropical Storm Gordon approaches.

The Coast Guard says it closed Mississippi ports in Gulfport and Pascagoula and the port in Mobile, Alabama, because hurricane force winds are possible within 12 hours.

The National Hurricane Center expects Gordon to become a hurricane before making landfall along or near the Mississippi coast Tuesday night.

The Coast Guard also said in a statement it's moving ships and helicopters out of the path of the storm so rescues will be limited or unavailable during the height of the storm.

___

1 p.m.

Forecasters say Tropical Storm Gordon hasn't strengthened as its outer bands bring rain and wind to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the center of the storm is about 145 miles (235 kilometers) southeast of Biloxi, Mississippi.

Gordon's top sustained winds remain at 65 mph (100 kph), but the storm is still forecast to go above the 74 mph (120 kph) threshold to be a hurricane before hitting land late Tuesday or on Wednesday.

Heavy rain is already falling over western Florida and is expected to spread west along the coast to New Orleans.

A hurricane warning is in effect for all the Alabama and Mississippi coast. Forecasters say the region could see life-threatening, rising waters of 3 to 5 feet (0.9 to 1.5 meters).

___

12:50 p.m.

Louisiana's governor is urging his state's residents to remain vigilant for Tropical Storm Gordon, though the worst of the weather is forecast to hit east of the state.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said Tuesday that Gordon remains a "very dangerous storm" and shouldn't be taken lightly.

The governor says he's authorized 350 National Guard troops stationed around Louisiana with high-water vehicles, boats and helicopters to respond to any storm threats as needed.

Latest forecasts show Gordon expected to skim part of southeast Louisiana and then move into northeast Louisiana, bringing high wind and heavy rain in areas already saturated from prior rainstorms.

A dozen school districts in southeast Louisiana closed Tuesday, along with several college campuses.

___

12:50 p.m.

In a neighborhood not protected by New Orleans' levees, L. J. Cazaux was getting ready for Tropical Storm Gordon.

Cazaux and others were moving boats and cars to a lot of elevated land and stocking up on food and water.

Cazaux planned to ride out the storm in his home in the Venetian Isles neighborhood. He elevated it after the massive floods during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Cazaux says living outside the levee just means it floods before anyone else, but the water also goes down faster.

New Orleans officials say their pumps are ready to get water out of the city.

___

From the Mississippi Department of Transportation:

MDOT crews throughout South Mississippi began preparing for response efforts early this morning by coordinating supplies and traffic control trailers, gassing up vehicles and equipment, sharpening tools such as chainsaws, programming dynamic message sign (DMS) boards, staging equipment for quicker response times and securing active highway maintenance and construction projects.

Crews will also be lowering some high-mast lighting systems along the Interstate 10 corridor to prevent them from acting as sails and becoming projectiles during high winds. Additionally, sand removal crews will be on standby, with equipment ready, should sand removal efforts along U.S. Highway 90 be needed.

MDOT Law Enforcement officers are also prepared and on standby to assist MDOT maintenance crews and local law enforcement with traffic control as needed.

___

10:20 a.m.

From the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross Mississippi Region will open evacuation centers in advance of Tropical Storm Gordon. Evacuation centers/shelters provide a safe place to stay for those who have been ordered to evacuate their homes prior to a storm. They typically are only meant to house people for 12-72 hours until the storm moves through. Because these centers/shelters must open quickly, it may not be possible to provide a cot and blanket for each person and it may not be practical to move in supplies for such a short-term.

People can check in at one of the following Red Cross managed sites:

Hancock County
• Kiln 361, 18320 Highway 43, Kiln, MS 39556 (10 a.m. open)

Jackson County
• Central Jackson County Community Saferoom, 5500 Ballpark Road, Vancleave, MS 39565 (noon open)

Harrison County
• County Farm 361, 15035 County Farm Road, Gulfport, MS 39503 (4 p.m. open)

Forrest County
• Forrest County 361, 946 Sullivan Road, Hattiesburg, MS 39401 (4 p.m. open)

George County
• Agricola Community Shelter, 3161 Cooks Corner Road, Lucedale, MS 39452 (2 p.m. open)
• Benndale Community Shelter, 5207 Highway 26 West, Lucedale, MS 39452 (2 p.m. open)

WHAT TO BRING TO SHELTER

Anyone evacuating to a Red Cross shelter should bring essential items for each member of the family:

 Prescriptions and emergency medications
 Foods that meet unusual dietary requirements
 Identification to show residence is in affected area and important personal documents
 Extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies and other comfort items
 Supplies needed for children and infants, such as diapers, formula and toys
 Special items for family members who are elderly or disabled
 Chargers for any electronic devices you bring with you
 Books, games and other ways to entertain your family and yourself
 Note – Public health regulations do not permit pets in shelters; service animals are permitted.

WHAT PEOPLE SHOULD DO

• Build an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information. Many of these items are available through the Red Cross Store at redcrossstore.org.
• Talk with household members and create an evacuation plan. Practicing the plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.
• Be informed. Learn about the community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for pets. Take a First Aid and CPR/AED course (redcross.org/takeaclass) so you know what to do in case emergency help is delayed.

___

11:25 a.m.

From the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency:

The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) was activated to Level 3 (partial with key state agencies) on Monday afternoon and moved to a full Level 2 activation at 7 a.m. this morning. The State Emergency Operations Center will run 24-hour operations, as long as necessary.

“Gordon will bring heavy rainfall and life-threatening storm surge to our coast, along with flash flooding and isolated tornadoes further north,” said Gov. Bryant. “All residents must take this storm seriously and act on the expertise of your local officials.”

Residents with questions about Nate preparations on the coast can call the county emergency management offices:
• Hancock Co. 228-255-0942
• Harrison Co. 228-865-4002
• Jackson Co. 228-769-3111

A state of emergency is an administrative tool that authorizes the use of state resources to aid in storm response efforts.

___

11 a.m.

The head of the U.S. National Hurricane Center says he isn't just worried about flooding from the ocean but also flooding from heavy rain from Tropical Storm Gordon.

National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham says water will be the main story with the storm, currently forecast to make landfall in or near the Mississippi coast late Tuesday.

Graham says a life-threatening storm surge of 3 of 5 feet (0.9 to 1.5 meters) is predicted along the western Alabama, Mississippi and extreme eastern Louisiana coasts.

Graham says heavy rain could also threaten lives. Up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) of rain is expected on the storm's track into southern Arkansas, with some areas seeing up to 12 inches (30 centimeters).

Graham said Tuesday in a Facebook Live video that even if the storm doesn't reach its forecast of hurricane strength its effect would be about the same.

___

10:33 a.m.

From the Mississippi State Department of Health:

The State Medical Needs Shelter, located at 1640 Coy Avenue in Wiggins, will open at 1 p.m. today in response to Tropical Storm Gordon.

This facility is a shelter of last resort for those people whose medical needs cannot be accommodated in a general population shelter.

Shelter admission is evaluated based on the following criteria:
• Those with health or medical conditions who require professional observation or care,
• Those with chronic conditions who require assistance with daily living activities or skilled nursing care, but do not require hospitalization,
• Those who need supervised medication dispensing or vital signs readings,
• Those with physical, mental, or cognitive disabilities who cannot be sheltered in a general population shelter, or
• Those with other disabilities who cannot be sheltered in a general population shelter.

Only one caregiver may accompany the resident inside the shelter. All residents should bring any prescribed medication or equipment needed for care if possible.

For more information on emergency preparedness, visit the Mississippi State Department of Health website at HealthyMS.com/storm or call toll-free at 1-866-HLTHY4U (1-866-458-4948.)

___

10:10 a.m.

Forecasters say they still expect Tropical Storm Gordon to become a hurricane before making landfall somewhere along or near the Mississippi coast.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the center of the storm is about 145 miles (235 kilometers) east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Gordon's top sustained winds are 65 mph (100 kph), but the storm is forecast to go above the 74 mph (120 kph) threshold to be a hurricane before hitting land late Tuesday or on Wednesday.

Heavy rain is already falling over western Florida and is expected to spread west along the coast to New Orleans.

A storm surge warning is in effect from Shell Beach, Louisiana, to Dauphin Island, Alabama. Forecasters say the region could see life-threatening, rising waters of 3 to 5 feet (0.9 to 1.5 meters).

A hurricane warning is in effect for all the Alabama and Mississippi coast.

___

9 a.m.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has signed a state of emergency ahead of the expected landfall of Tropical Storm Gordon.

Ivey's office says she signed the declaration Tuesday morning.

Gordon is expected to scrape the Alabama coast as it is makes landfall in Mississippi late Tuesday or early Wednesday morning.

The National Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane warning from the mouth of the Pearl River to the Alabama-Florida border.

Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Brian Hastings wrote on Twitter that coastal residents are urged to get to a safe location by Tuesday afternoon and stay there until Wednesday morning.

___

8:10 a.m.

Mississippi's governor has declared a state of emergency as Tropical Storm Gordon approaches the Gulf Coast.

Gov. Phil Bryant said Monday night that the declaration will make state resources and personnel available to areas affected by the storm.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency warned in a Tuesday update that tornadoes will be possible Tuesday afternoon through the evening. The agency says flash flooding, high winds and storm surge also threatened the southern part of the state.

A hurricane warning is in effect for the mouth of the Pearl River in Mississippi to the Alabama-Florida border. The National Hurricane Center is predicting a "life-threatening" storm surge along parts of the central Gulf Coast.

___

7:40 a.m.

A number of schools near Pensacola in northwest Florida have called off classes as Tropical Storm Gordon spins through the Gulf of Mexico.

Officials along Pensacola Beach say the waves are picking up Tuesday morning and lifeguards are warning beachgoers of the danger.

Pensacola Water Safety Capt. Jake Wilson tells WEAR-TV the strong east wind is bringing a lateral current "where it's just going to push you down the beach."

Wilson says beachgoers shouldn't get into the Gulf of Mexico when red flags are flying along the beaches.

A hurricane warning is in effect for the mouth of the Pearl River in Mississippi to the Alabama-Florida border. The National Hurricane Center is predicting a "life-threatening" storm surge along parts of the central Gulf Coast.

___

1:40 a.m.

Tropical Storm Gordon is expected to strengthen into a hurricane late Tuesday when it hits the central U.S. Gulf Coast, including coastal Mississippi. From there, it is forecast to move inland over the lower Mississippi Valley on Wednesday.

Gordon formed into a tropical storm near the Florida Keys early Monday as it lashed the southern part of the state with heavy rains and high winds.

The storm was centered 280 miles (450 kilometers) east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, forecasters said early Tuesday morning. Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 65 mph (100 kph).

A hurricane warning was put into effect for the area stretching from the mouth of the Pearl River in Mississippi to the Alabama-Florida border.

Article Comments

Tupelo
Scattered Clouds
83° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 89°
Columbus
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 92°
Oxford
Broken Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 78°
Starkville
Overcast
82° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 88°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather