Tropical Storm Gordon Nears Gulf Coast: Emergencies Declared in Louisiana, Mississippi
Updated 9/5/18: The Weather Channel issued a report titled Gordon’s Remnant Expected to Survive into the Great Lakes, Enhancing Heavy Rain Through the Midwest.
September 4, 2018
Source: The Weather Channel
Office of Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (Governor Ivey Issues State of Emergency in Preparation for Tropical Storm Gordon)
Office of Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant (Emergency Proclamation)
Office of Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (Gov. Edwards Issues State of Emergency Declaration Due to Tropical Storm Gordon)
Tropical Storm Gordon Coastal County ZIP Code List (Alabama, Louisiana Mississippi)
Please Note: This has not yet been declared a Presidential Major Disaster.
Residents and officials along the northern Gulf coast are bracing for the arrival Tuesday night of what’s expected to become Hurricane Gordon.
Emergency operations centers were activated from Florida to Louisiana, and residents have been urged to complete their storm plans.
Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center, said during a Facebook live session Tuesday morning that water will be the main story of the storm, with a “life-threatening” storm surge of 3 to 5 feet predicted along western Alabama, Mississippi and extreme eastern Louisiana coasts.
Schools and colleges planned to dismiss students early on Tuesday, or close altogether, in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
Airlines including Delta, American Airlines, Southwest and Frontier say they may waive fees for itinerary changes for passengers traveling to and from select cities should flight cancelations become necessary.
In Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency for the entire state. Edwards announced at a news conference Tuesday that 350 National Guard troops will be deployed to southeastern Louisiana, where heavy rains and strong winds are anticipated Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.
“Nobody should panic but everybody should take this seriously,” Bel Edwards said during a Monday news conference.
On Tuesday, he again reminded residents to be vigilant as the “very dangerous storm” approached.
Grand Isle Mayor David Campardelle called for a voluntary evacuation of the barrier island that is located about 50 miles south of New Orleans.
In New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell called for a voluntary evacuation of parts of the city outside levee protection — the Venetian Isles, Lake Catherine and Irish Bayou communities, nola.com reported.
Cantrell told reporters the city has “the pumps and the power” needed to protect residents, the Associated Press reports.
As much as 3 feet of rainfall is possible outside hurricane levees on the east bank of the Mississippi in the Lake Catherine area and at Lakefront Airport, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The Flood Protection Authority-East (FPA) said in a statement that 38 floodgates, 13 valve gates and a concrete barge gate were closed Monday on the Lake Borgne Surge Barrier near New Orleans in anticipation of heavy rainfall. Other floodgates will also be closed on Tuesday, the agency said.
Officials with the Sewerage & Water Board, which operates New Orleans’ drainage pumps, said Monday that 116 out of the utility’s total 120 pumps are available for use and it has enough power to operate them.
Along the Gulf Coast, lifeguards were cautioning people from venturing into the see because of strengthening currents. Capt. Jake Wilson of Pensacola Water Safety said the strong wind is bringing a lateral current “where it’s just going to push you down the beach,” AP reports.
In Mississippi, Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency Monday ahead of the storm.
Gulfport, Biloxi and Long Beach ordered that their harbors be evacuated, leaving boat owners scrambling to secure or evacuate their vessels, WLOX-TV reported.
“We’re asking people to do the same things that we’re doing: prepare,” Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich in a statement. “There’s no reason to be alarmed. We’re being told to expect rain and wind, and we’re preparing accordingly. We expect our citizens to be doing the same.”
The Gulf Islands National Seashore islands, including East and West Ship, Horn, Cat, Petit Bois, and West Petit Bois Islands have been closed to the public until further notice, WLOX also reported.
Numerous school districts, particularly along the Mississippi coast, announced closures for Tuesday, WLOX reports.
Emergency Operations Centers in Harrison, Hancock and Jackson counties prepared for 24-hour operations and announced the availability of sandbags, the Sun Herald reported.
The Mississippi Emergency Operations Center said the greatest threat is heavy rainfall and flooding, along with hurricane-force winds which will impact much of South Mississippi and 3 to 5 feet of storm surge. Officials warned that people living in low lying areas should have a plan to evacuate if waters begin to rise.
On Tuesday, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a state of emergency as residents and state officials make preparations for the storm.
“All coastal Alabama residents need to prepare now ahead of tonight’s potential landfall,” she tweeted. “Our state will be ready for whatever Gordon may bring,”
A flash flood watch was issued for Alabama’s Mobile and Baldwin counties, where 4 to 6 inches of rain is possible.
Double red flags, meaning the water is closed to the public because of hazardous surf and tides, flew at Gulf Shores, Alabama, AL.com reported. Single red flags had been raised earlier in Orange Beach in Alabama, and in Panama City and Destin, Florida. Rip current levels are expected to remain high for the remainder of the day into tomorrow.