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Tropical Storm Gordon soaks Southern Florida, approaches Gulf Coast

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Tropical Storm Gordon is expected to be a hurricane by the time it makes landfall along the Central Gulf Coast. Photo by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

By Allen Cone, Brooks Hays, UPI

Tropical Storm Gordon, which pounded southern Florida with heavy rain, is moving toward Florida-Alabama border, the National Hurricane Center said Monday afternoon.

Gordon strengthened over the course of the day. The storm is now threatening the Florida Panhandle and Gulf Coast with rain, wind and waves.

Forecasters expect the storm to continue to gain strength. By the time Gordon makes landfall along the central Gulf Coast, it is likely to be hurricane.

"A hurricane warning has been issued from the mouth of the Pearl River to the Alabama-Florida border," the National Hurricane Center announced in a 5:00 p.m. ET update. "This warning replaces the hurricane Watch and tropical storm warning for this area."

Officials extended the storm surge warning eastward to Dauphin Island, Ala.

Gordon was 50 miles west-southwest of Fort Meyers, Fla.

The storm was moving at 17 mph west-northwest with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph, which is 5 mph higher than the forecast three hours earlier. A weather system becomes a tropical storm when winds reach 39 mph.

On the forecast track, Gordon's will move over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico through Monday evening. The storm system will reach reach the central Gulf Coast by late Tuesday night and move inland over the lower Mississippi Valley on Wednesday.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center.

"The tropical storm warning for the upper Florida Keys and from Golden Beach to Chokoloskee, including Florida Bay, has been discontinued," NHC said.

Gordon is expected to produce rainfall over 2 to 4 inches over the central and northwestern Bahamas, the Florida Keys and South Florida through early Tuesday. Some area in southern Florida may receives 8 inches.

Over southern Alabama, southern Mississippi and Louisiana, rainfall of 4 to 6 inches is forecast. Isolated maximum 8 inches are forecast through early Thursday.

And a couple of tornadoes are possible through Monday night across the southern and west-central Florida Peninsula.

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U.S. - U.S. Daily News: Tropical Storm Gordon soaks Southern Florida, approaches Gulf Coast
Tropical Storm Gordon soaks Southern Florida, approaches Gulf Coast
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