Tropical Storm Gordon made landfall Tuesday night, slamming into the Alabama-Mississippi border with heavy rains, a storm surge, and flooding.
Coastal communities such as Dauphin Island in Alabama and Shell Beach, Mississippi were among the hardest hit. The National Hurricane Center issued a storm surge warning for those and other areas along the Mississippi and Alabama coastlines, and sea levels rose as much as five feet there on Tuesday night.
Though Gordon weakened from a category 1 hurricane – which has a minimum wind speed of 74 miles per hour – to a tropical depression before it made landfall, the storm unfortunately still claimed the life of a young child when a tree fell on a mobile home in Pensacola, Florida, according to local officials.
Had the storm remained a hurricane when it hit land, it would have been the first hurricane to make landfall in the US in the 2018 hurricane season.
The storm is expected to continue lashing the region through Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center. Some areas in the storm’s track could see a total of over 12 inches of rain through the week.
Here’s what the damage looks like in Alabama and Mississippi:
Tropical Storm Gordon strengthened as it passed Florida and entered the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend.
- NASA/Handout via REUTERS
Luckily, by the time it made landfall on the Alabama-Mississippi border, the storm had been downgraded to a tropical depression, with wind speeds of around 30 miles per hour.
- REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
By Tuesday, the storm brought large waves, storm surges, and heavy rains to coastal counties around the Alabama-Mississippi border.
- REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
Source: The National Hurricane Center
“This is a life-threatening situation,” The National Weather Service warned on Tuesday. The warning extended to areas on the Florida Panhandle and the Gulf coasts of Mississippi and Alabama.
Some beachgoers in Alabama, however, weren’t deterred by the storm.
Flooding caused by the heavy rains is expected to continue through Saturday. Federal and local officials are encouraging residents in the Florida Panhandle and Alabama and Mississippi coasts to seek shelter.
The storm is expected to move across the Mississippi Valley and turn northwest on Friday. It is forecast to dump 4 to 8 inches of rain on the western Florida Panhandle, southwest Alabama, central Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, southern Iowa, and Illinois by Saturday.
The city of New Orleans, which was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, only suffered a minor blow from this storm, according to The New Orleans Advocate. The city received light rainfall on Tuesday. New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell said the city is amply prepared for flash flooding, which is still a risk.
Source: The New Orleans Advocate