Tropical Storm Gordon forms near Florida Keys

Tropical Storm Gordon forms near Florida Keys

The system was lashing Florida with tropical-storm-force winds and heavy rains Monday morning, according to the hurricane center.

A tropical storm watch has been issued for portions of the central Gulf Coast from the Alabama-Florida line westward to almost Morgan City, Louisiana.

Tropical Storm Florence is also looming in the open waters of the Atlantic and shouldn't pose a threat as it meanders over the open waters. Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 45 miles per hour and the system is moving west-northwest at 16 miles per hour.

Gordon was generating winds of 80 km/h on Monday as it steamed west-northwest at 27 km/h, the National Hurricane Centre said. It will likely strengthen a bit, but still stay a tropical storm.

"Any time you get a tropical cyclone in the Gulf production region there could be some disruption, " said Steve Silver, a senior meteorologist at Radiant Solutions in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Elsewhere, a patch of bad weather off the African coast formed into Tropical Storm Florence early Saturday morning but is not expected to reach hurricane strength or threaten the United States. Heavy rain and gusty winds cover all of South Florida, especially in embedded rain bands.

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A hurricane watch has also been posted for coastal areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, meaning that hurricane conditions are possible there within the next 48 hours.

The center says the system will gradually strengthen and is expected to become a tropical depression sometime Monday and a tropical storm by Monday evening. A storm surge watch was extended to the western Florida Panhandle.

The National Weather Service said current conditions were "somewhat favorable" for tornadoes in affected parts of South Florida on Monday. Some area in southern Florida may receives 8 inches.

The storm is expected to cross from southwest Florida into the Gulf Coast later Monday afternoon. After moving northwest, the next landfall for Gordon will likely be somewhere in southeastern Louisiana or southern Mississippi.

The storm began as a tropical wave over the Caribbean last week. A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for a portion of the Mississippi-Alabama border.

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