The National Hurricane Center says tropical storm conditions and heavy rainfall are possible over parts of the central U.S. Gulf Coast in coming days.
'The heaviest rains (are) likely (Monday) morning, ' said National Weather Service meteorologist Stephen Konarik in Miami. The storm is expected to reach hurricane strength when it hits the Gulf Coast, including coastal MS, by late Tuesday. The storm is forecast to pass over the Florida Keys on Monday, emerge over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico by Monday evening and reach the central Gulf Coast by late Tuesday. This is where a tropical storm warning and a flash flood watch will be in effect through Wednesday.
Norman said wind gusts clocked-in at 49 miles per hour at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport and 45 miles per hour in Bradenton around 1:30 p.m.
Gordon was generating winds of 50 miles per hour (80 km per hour) on Monday as it steamed west-northwest at 16 mph (27 kph), the National Hurricane Center said.
Gordon was expected to strengthen in the Gulf.
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Forecasters expect the storm to continue to gain strength.
'With the peak of hurricane season upon us, now is the time to get prepared. The National Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane watch through Tuesday night, particularly in coastal areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Some minor storm surge could occur along the gulf coast as well. No impacts from the system are expected for eastern Carolina.
Tropical Storm Gordon continued to strengthen as it moved into the Gulf of Mexico Monday afternoon, bringing fast moving showers and gusts over Tampa Bay that were expected to continue through the evening.
Storm surges from 3 to 5 feet are expected from Shell Beach to the Mississippi-Alabama border, and from 2 to 4 feet from Navarre, Fla., to the Mississippi-Alabama border, and from Shell Beach to the mouth of Mississippi River. Chances that the wave will turn into a tropical storm remain low.
The center said in its 8:30 a.m. EDT advisory that the storm was centered 20 miles (30 kilometers) west of Key Largo and 85 miles (135 kilometers) southeast of Marco Island.