Tropical update: Gordon approaches land while Florence swirls over the ocean

Posted: Sep 04, 2018 5:53 PM -04:00 Updated:

Tropical Storm Gordon is set to make landfall on the northern Gulf coast on Tuesday night near or at Gulfport, Mississippi.

The land falling storm's arrival continues what's been a notable flare-up of activity in the tropics, and furthers a trend looking to continue in the coming days.

According to the latest data gathered by the National Hurricane Center, Gordon is packing an area of maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, which is just shy of category 1 hurricane status.

New with the latest update from the NHC though is that the storm is no longer expected to be able to top category 1 status, meaning that when it moves on shore it should arrive as a strong tropical storm-force system.

 Regardless of its land falling strength, strong winds, isolated tornadoes and a coastal storm surge risk are present tonight and early tomorrow morning for areas west of the Florida panhandle and east of the Louisiana-Mississippi state line.

Forecasters with the NHC say surge on barrier islands of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana could exceed 2' above ground level, particularly in point east of the storm's center of circulation where winds are the strongest.

After making landfall, Gordon is likely to weaken substantially as it tracks into the mid-South, bringing stormy weather to areas of Mississippi and Arkansas on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in the tropics, two features need to be monitored in the coming days. It's important to note though that neither one poses any imminent risk to Florida or any other part of the United States at this time.

First, let's tackle Hurricane Florence. This category 1 hurricane is in the open Atlantic Ocean, more than 1,300 miles away from the Leeward Islands. Florence has picked up some strength in the past 24 hours, but will be on a roller coaster ride over the next several days. The NHC's forecast cone has Florence fluctuating between hurricane and tropical storm strength in the coming 4 days as it moves west-northwest at about 12 mph.

Given Florence's remote location, the storm won't be near any areas of land through at least the weekend. Since it's moving west-northwest the only area of land that currently could see any impact would be Bermuda, but even that chance is low given the setup at this time.

The third feature to note is a tropical disturbance (dubbed Invest 92L by the NHC) that's recently rolled off of western Africa. This currently disorganized cluster of clouds and rain has high odds of development in the next week. The NHC in fact pegs the odds of it becoming at least a depression at 80% in the next five days.

A roundup of early modeling data shows what tries to develop off of Africa favoring a path south of where Hurricane Florence is, with a general west to northwest motion. It's too early to determine exactly how strong this disturbance will become or where it will eventually track, so be sure to stay up on the tropical developments during NBC2 Newscasts throughout the next week.

Ready for hurricane season? It's always a good idea to be prepared. Review key terms, policies and plans with NBC2's online hurricane guide here.



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