Heavy rain hits Florida as tropical storm Gordon approaches

STORM UPDATE: Santa Rosa County public schools early release Tuesday - South Santa Rosa News

Tropical Storm Gordon races toward US Gulf Coast

A state of emergency has been declared in Alabama, Louisiana and MS as Tropical Storm Gordon heads for America's Gulf Coast.

Analysts said Gordon has winds of up to 65-miles-per-hour and is expected to charge inland over the lower MS valley Wednesday. It's expected to make landfall along the MS coast Tuesday night perhaps as a category one hurricane.

Jim Cantore took a lovely sunset photo at the Gulfport Harbor on Labor Day after he landed in the Gulf Coast, but he's not the only Weather Channel meteorologist covering Tropical Storm Gordon from the Gulf Coast.

A hurricane warning was put into effect for parts of MS and east to the Alabama-Florida border. Some areas still recovering from last year's storms could see 30 cm of rain.

As of 5 p.m. Gordon has strengthened to 70 miles per hour sustained winds just shy of hurricane force (74 mph).

"More power outages could be expected overnight from downed trees due to strong winds and saturated ground", CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said.

The winds are now up to 85 miles per hour.

LINK: You can track the storms at MyFoxHurricane. If the current disturbance forms into a storm and keeps on its current trajectory, it would impact the Caribbean islands around the same time as the September 2017 storms.

Beaufort County and coastal Jasper County are included in an area covered by a hazardous weather outlook, according to the National Weather Service in Charleston.

Schools in parts of coastal Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and MS were closed Tuesday, and others announced they would open for only part of their normal day.

Flooding was also a risk. Tide levels are expected to rise because of the lunar perigee and onshore winds starting with the evening high tide on Friday.

Just hours before the storm was expected to come ashore, a few people remained on the beach, soaking in the sun before the tropical rain bands became more numerous.

In Bay St. Louis, Murphy's bar opened previous year for the first time since Hurricane Katrina; members of his family have owned it since 1982.

We'll call it the "calm before the storm" for your Tuesday, expect highs will top out in the upper 80s and lower 90s.

Additional rainfall is possible late in the weekend and early next week in the form of scattered showers and thunderstorms, the statement added. Chance of rain 20 percent.

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