The latest update from the National Hurricane Center as of 4:00 PM CDT, now has Tropical Storm Gordon strengthening into a weak Category 1 hurricane just ahead of making landfall along the central Gulf Coast.
The Hurricane Center issued storm surge warnings from Shell Beach, La.to the MS border with Alabama. Heavy rain and gusty winds have been seen in parts of south Florida and that will only increase as the storm moves further into the Gulf of Mexico.
A storm system moving quickly toward the central U.S. Gulf Coast strengthened to a tropical storm early Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
At 11 p.m. Monday, the storm is continuing a west-northwestward to northwestward motion. Hurricane center experts still expect it to move northwest before it comes anywhere near Florida as it travels around the western edge of an area of high pressure.
Florence's maximum sustained winds are 70 miles per hour, and the storm is moving west-northwest at 13 miles per hour.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency warned of storm surges of between 3 and 5 feet (1 and 1.5 meters) and told South Mississippi residents to be prepared to evacuate.
Pat Landry, who owns the Landry House bed and breakfast on Louisiana's Grand Isle, said late Monday night that he was trying to pick up everything low in the yard in preparation for the storm surge expected with Gordon's arrival.
Sustained winds of tropical-storm-force are likely in the zone under a hurricane warning, with the possibility of hurricane-force gusts, over 74 miles per hour.
Meteorologists were also tracking Tropical Storm Florence Monday, which was moving west with sustained winds of almost 70 mph about 1,400 miles east of the Lesser Antilles islands. It drenched Florida on Labor Day, forcing officials in Miami and the Florida Panhandle to close beaches due to rough surf and potential rip currents. Positioned 145 miles east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, Gordon is moving toward the northwest at 15 mph. The main threats here in Middle Georgia include the chance of some severe storms Tuesday and (possibly) Wednesday along the outer bands of the storm.
The National Hurricane Centre is also tracking Tropical Storm Olivia and Hurricane Norman in the eastern Pacific.
Tropical showers and thunderstorms can be expected across the region starting Monday through much of Wednesday, the weather service says. If this happens, hurricane warnings and storm surge amounts may be shifted based on the new forecast track.