8 P.M. UPDATE: Tropical Storm Gordon has intensified and now packs winds of 60 mph, the National Hurricane Center said in its 8 p.m. advisory Monday.
Gordon was about 350 miles east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and was moving west-northwest at 17 mph. The lowest central pressured was measured at 1003 millibars.
5 P.M. UPDATE: Tropical Storm Gordon was showing signs of strengthening Monday and the National Hurricane Center now says Gordon will likely reach hurricane strength before striking the northern Gulf Coast on Tuesday.
At 5 p.m. Gordon was located about 445 miles east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River. It was moving west-northwest at 17 mph and was expected to continue that course through the night.
Highest winds were 50 mph, but Hurricane Center forecasters said Gordon showed signs of becoming better organized and would likely strengthen. The barometric pressure in Gordon had dropped another millibar to 1006.
A hurricane warning was issued for the area between the mouth of the Pearl River and the Alabama-Florida border. A storm surge warning was extended east to Dauphin Island.
Tropical storm-force winds extend 45 miles from the center.
Tropical Storm Gordon was intensifying Monday afternoon as it pushed offshore from South Florida and took aim at the northern Gulf Coast.
At 2 p.m. Monday Gordon was located about 510 miles southeast of Pensacola and was moving west-northwest at 16 mph. Highest winds had increased to 50 mph, and the National Hurricane Center said Gordon could be near hurricane strength at landfall Tuesday night.
Pressure was 1007 mb, down two millibars from the previous measurement.
A hurricane watch was in effect from the mouth of the Pearl River to the Alabama-Florida border. Tropical storm warnings were in effect from the Okaloosa-Walton County border west to east of Morgan City, Louisiana. A storm surge warning was in effect from Shell Beach to the Mississippi-Alabama border. A storm surge watch existed for west of Shell Beach to the mouth of the Mississippi River, and east of the Mississippi-Alabama border to Navarre.
Gordon is expected to continue on its current track or maybe a little more northwestward while continuing to strengthen. According to an NHC chart, the Emerald Coast should be feeling the effects from Gordon starting Tuesday morning.
The area from Destin to the Alabama-Mississippi border should experience tides of 1-2 feet above normal. Farther west, tides will be 2-4 feet above normal.
The storm is also expected to produce rainfall totals of 4-6 inches over Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. The Emerald Coast can expect rainfall totals in the 1- to 2-inch range.
The Mobile office of the National Weather Service, in a statement issued shortly before 11 a.m., said Gordon would likely produce flash flooding and possible coastal surge as the storm passes. It urged residents to complete preparations for the storm today.
This story will be updated throughout the day and night as new information becomes available. For more information consult these local sources:
Escambia County: 850-471-6400 or bereadyescambia.com
Santa Rosa County: 850-983-5360 www.santarosa.fl.gov/emergency
Okaloosa County: 850-651-7150 or www.co.okaloosa.fl.us/ps/home
For information on appropriate preparations see ready.gov
For additional disaster preparedness information see redcross.org