MIAMI – Tropical Storm Gordon was moving out of the Everglades into the Gulf of Mexico Monday afternoon. Winds on the South Florida coast have been gusting over 50 mph on with some of the heaviest downpours moving in off the ocean. By late afternoon, the stormy weather was calming down.
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As of the 5 p.m. advisory, Gordon was located about 50 miles west southwest of Fort Myers with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph.
The Tropical Storm Warning for the Upper Florida Keys and from Golden Beach to Chokoloskee, including Florida Bay, has been discontinued.
A flood watch is in effect for South Florida as bands of very heavy rain and gusty winds rotate in off the ocean through the day. The forecast is for widespread 2 to 4 inches of rain with some locations receiving up to 8 inches. Winds off the ocean will gust to around 40-50 mph in some of the stronger cells. Outside of the cells the winds will be closer to 20-25 mph. The strongest gusts may bring down some tree limbs and cause power outages.
This change from a disturbance to a tropical storm this morning does not significantly increase the weather threat across South Florida beyond what is already moving in, except that some higher winds might affect the Keys and the west coast of Florida and the system continues to intensify – especially over the water. Dangerous boating conditions will prevail.
The bad weather on in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area will continue into late this afternoon or early this evening as the system heads into the Gulf of Mexico.
In South Florida, do not be misled by the NHC cone for Tropical Storm Gordon. The bad weather extends well outside the cone. The graphic is only an indication the direction the system is expected to track, and the estimated timing.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Alabama and Mississippi coast, the western Florida Panhandle, and southeast Louisiana including the New Orleans area. This means that sustained winds over 40 mph are expected. In addition, a Hurricane Watch is now in effect for the Mississippi and Alabama coasts.
The peak intensity of the storm when it reaches the northern Gulf Coast is uncertain. Forecasts for poorly organized systems are generally less accurate than average. Currently the NHC is forecasting Gordon to be a strong tropical storm with winds of about 70 mph when it makes landfall somewhere from southeast Louisiana to Alabama late tomorrow or early Wednesday. It could however, reach hurricane intensity, thus the Hurricane Watch is in effect.
Tropical Storm Florence, on the other side of the Atlantic, continues moving in the general direction of the East Coast. It is more than a week away. It is too early to know if it will eventually be a threat to the U.S., but even if that were to happen, it is unlikely that South Florida would be involved.
The intensity of Florence is closely related to its track. If it weakens at the end of this week, it is more likely to eventually track closer to the U.S. If it stays stronger, it will likely turn north into the open ocean.
Another disturbance is moving off of Africa, which will need to be monitored.