Gordon lashes Florida Panhandle as Gulf Coast preps for storm surge

Tropical Storm Gordon in gulf, moving away from Florida

Geo Rodriguez chose to go for a walk on Hollywood Beach, north of Miami, on Monday morning and got caught in the storm.

Storm surge of 1 to 5 feet will be possible along the MS and southeastern Louisiana coastline near landfall.

The staff at The Hotel Whiskey in Pass Christian, Mississippi - only about a block from the Gulf of Mexico - planned to stay open Tuesday evening as usual, fortified by sandbags to keep out torrential rains, the manager said.

Gordon is expected to slow its forward speed once over land, increasing the threat of heavy rains and flooding. It will be quieter the farther inland you live.

Warnings indicate hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or higher) are expected somewhere within the specified area. That being said, Florence will continue to move west-northwest and could get out of this area and into more favourable conditions.

Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for southeast Louisiana, and Hurricane Warnings are in effect for coastal MS and Alabama.

Innes said the price outlook for crude was still bullish, in large part because of United States sanctions targeting Iran's oil sector from November.

Airlines including Delta, Southwest and Frontier warned that delays and flight cancellations were possible at airports near the Gulf Coast because of the storm, and that they may waive fees for itinerary changes.

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In anticipation of heavy rains, the Flood Protection Authority-East (FPA) has closed 21 floodgates on the Lake Borgne Surge Barrier near New Orleans, according to a press release.

The storm's strong winds have knocked out power in the Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama leaving at least 20,000 people in the dark, several utility companies said. Additionally the National Hurricane Center is reporting Gordon is expected to bring life-threatening storm surges to portions of the central Gulf Coast, with surge warnings issued for the mouth of the Pearl River to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

Hurricane and storm surge warnings and watches were in effect across the region, the NHC said.

Gordon is predicted to hit near the Louisiana/Mississippi border late on Tuesday or early Wednesday, with the hurricane warning stretching to the Alabama-Florida border.

The storm's predicted track had shifted slightly east as of Monday evening, meaning Louisiana is now just outside the area under the hurricane warning.

But the Bermuda Weather Service said Florence could have its closest point of approach to the island within three days, with forecasts putting it 730 miles to the east southeast of the island around noon on Friday. Hurricane Florence was some 2,400 miles away from the USA, and another potential storm was likely to form not far off the coast of Africa and head east.

No watches or warnings are now in effect.

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