Gordon became a tropical storm after having strengthened rapidly overnight, and late Monday afternoon, the National Weather Service issued a hurricane warning for the mouth of the Pearl River, which divides Louisiana and MS in the central Gulf.
The Hurricane Center issued storm surge warnings from Shell Beach, La.to the MS border with Alabama.
By Monday afternoon the storm had passed over Florida's southern tip.
The improved structure as favorable environmental conditions suggest further strengthening is likely and Gordon should become a hurricane over the next 24-36 hours before landfall across the central Gulf Coast.
Tropical Storm Gordon now sits about 50 miles west of Fort Myers, Florida.
This is good, because the less amount of time it spends over the open Gulf, the less time it has to strengthen in a low shear environment and over the very warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
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However authorities issued a voluntary evacuation order for residents outside the levee protection system, including the Venetian Isles, Lake Saint Catherine and Irish Bayou areas. 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.
"Rapid weakening is expected after Gordon moves inland, " the hurricane center said.
The hurricane center said Hurricane Florence had maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour and was continuing to move toward the northwest at 12 miles per hour. A storm surge warning has been issued for the area stretching from Shell Beach, Louisiana, to Dauphin Island, Alabama.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from the Okaloosa-Walton County Line and stretches from Golden Beach to Bonita Beach and from Craig Key to Ocean Reef, including Florida Bay. 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. A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for a portion of the Mississippi-Alabama border.
Gordon is about 190 miles east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and packing maximum sustained winds of 65 mph, according to the 8 a.m. advisory Tuesday from the National Hurricane Center.
Separately, the Atlantic was expected "to stay active" in the coming days, the National Hurricane Center said. It is about 1,205 miles west-northwest of the Cabo Verde Islands and about 1,300 miles east-northeast of the Lesser Antilles.
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