This forecast was updated at 4:20 pm Monday
The National Hurricane Center has issued the 4:00 pm advisory for Tropical Storm Gordon with winds currently at 50 mph, moving WNW at 17 mph. Storm Surge Warning is now in effect from Shell Beach to Dauphin Island, Storm Surge Watch from Shell Beach to the mouth of the Mississippi River and east of Dauphin Island to Navarre, Florida. Hurricane Warning has been issued from the mouth of the Pearl River to the Alabama/Florida Border. Tropical Storm Warnings east of Morgan City to the mouth of the Pearl River and from the Alabama/Florida Border to the Okaloosa-Walton County line.
The biggest change to emerge from this updated track is that Gordon may now peak as a Category 1 around landfall, which continues to look like late Tuesday/early Wednesday. It’s important to remember that intensity forecasting has a long way to go when it comes to tropical systems. These storms can quickly intensify or quickly fall apart so don’t get hung up on one particular track, instead watch the trend of how the forecast evolves.
Tropical Storm Gordon is currently (Monday afternoon) situated over south Florida and making a trajectory out into the Gulf of Mexico. There it will be greeted by warm water and a chance to strengthen as it slowly drifts to the northwest. Landfall currently looks like it’ll be somewhere along the Mississippi Coast, near the Alabama border Tuesday night/Wednesday morning as a category 1 hurricane. It’s important, however, not to get too caught up monitoring the category of the storm as the impacts are the more important aspect to monitor.
Due to the structure of the storm, and the latest track shifting slightly east it’s looking more likely that the impacts for Acadiana will be minimal. We’ll be on the left side of a storm that seems to have most of the weather right of the center. In fact we may end up with a light breeze out of the north which could end up pushing in some drier air into the region. This could even limit the showers we get here in Acadiana and get humidity back under control. If you are along the coast look for the storm surge to maybe push up a foot or two and tides and seas will be running pretty high.
As you travel east, however, conditions could very quickly start to deteriorate the closer you get to the Louisiana Mississippi border. As mentioned above a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for areas east of roughly St. Mary Parish all along the coast and including inland cities such as Baton Rouge and New Orleans as well as the entire north shore.
As the storm makes landfall it’ll likely bring some tropical storm forced winds to the New Orleans metro and areas to the east. While the heaviest storm surge and seas will be to the east along the Florida-Mississippi-Alabama coast lines it’ll be plenty choppy the Louisiana Coast. Water pushed up the Mississippi River may mean the river is also running fairly high but again shouldn’t be too problematic. The heaviest rain will remain east, but we all know how rain can go in Louisiana, so some heavy downpours should be monitored, but the majority of the flood threat will be along the Louisiana/Mississippi border to roughly Mobile, Alabama.
Greater Gulf Coast Impacts
A landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River would mean that coastal Mississippi and Alabama will catch the worst of the weather, although impacts will be felt out as far as about Navarre Beach/Fort Walton Beach. The storm surge will be up to about 3 to 5 feet from about Shell Beach to the Mississippi Alabama border, 2-4 feet from the mouth of the Mississippi River to Shell Beach as well as the Alabama border to Navarre Beach.
Rain will be a major issue for Mississippi and Alabama with rain totals pushing the 4-6 inch range, with some areas looking at 8+ inches of rain through early Thursday. This could lead to some flash flooding and will be the biggest threat that Gordon will pose. Spin up tornadoes can not be ruled out in the eastern fringes of the storm so from the Mississippi/Alabama border into the Florida Panhandle residents will need to be mindful of bands producing small tornadoes.
This is a forecast that will continue to evolve over the next several days, so it will need to be monitored accordingly. Make sure you have a plan in place and no when you should put that plan into action. If avoidable eliminate travel along the Gulf Coast this week. The next advisory will be out around 4:00 pm with following advisories being released every three hours.