Tropical Storm Gordon (2018)

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Tropical Storm Gordon
Tropical storm (SSHWS/NWS)
Gordon 2018-09-04 1905Z.jpg
Tropical Storm Gordon near peak intensity just off the coast of Alabama on September 4
FormedSeptember 3, 2018
DissipatedSeptember 8, 2018
(Remnant low after September 6)
Highest winds1-minute sustained: 70 mph (110 km/h)
Lowest pressure996 mbar (hPa); 29.41 inHg
Fatalities3 direct, 1 indirect
Damage~ $200 million (2018 USD)
Areas affectedHispaniola, Cuba, The Bahamas, South Florida, Florida Keys, Gulf Coast of the United States, Arkansas, Missouri, United States East Coast, Southern Ontario
Part of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season

Tropical Storm Gordon was a tropical cyclone of moderate intensity that caused damage along the Gulf Coast of the United States in early September 2018. The seventh named storm of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, Gordon developed from a tropical wave that was first monitored in the Caribbean Sea on August 30. The wave moved west-northwestward toward the east coast of Florida while gradually organizing. The disturbance was marked as Potential Tropical Cyclone Seven on September 2 while near the Bahamas, and early the next day, it became Tropical Storm Gordon. The system made landfall on the southwest coast of Florida shortly afterwards. Steady intensification began after it moved off the coast of Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico. Gordon reached its peak intensity as a high-end tropical storm late on September 4 before making landfall just east of Pascagoula, Mississippi shortly afterwards. Gordon then rapidly weakened as it tacked inland, and degenerated into a remnant low on September 6. Gordon's remnants lingered over Arkansas for two days, before opening up into a low-pressure trough on September 8. At least three deaths were attributed to the storm, and Gordon caused approximately $200–250 million (2018 USD) in damages,[1] making it the third-costliest tropical cyclone in the United States for the 2018 season.

Meteorological history[edit]

Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale

On August 30, 2018, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) began monitoring a tropical wave over the north-central Caribbean Sea for tropical cyclone formation. Development was expected to be slow to occur due to unfavorable upper-level winds, although the environment was expected to become more favorable once the disturbance reached the Gulf of Mexico.[2] The tropical wave began to organize after leaving the Caribbean Sea on September 1. Due to its threat to the United States and an increasing organization trend, the NHC initiated advisories on the nascent system late on September 2, designating it as Potential Tropical Cyclone Seven.[3] Early the following day, the disturbance developed a closed circulation and well-defined center while it was situated off the coast of Florida, and the system was classified as a tropical storm by the NHC. It was subsequently assigned the name Gordon.[4] Shortly afterwards, the storm's center passed over Key Largo, Florida.

Shortly after Gordon moved offshore from Florida, a small eye became apparent on radar imagery, although it was soon eroded, and the surrounding convection became somewhat ragged.[5] The structure of Gordon's small core continued to deteriorate throughout the evening as light to moderate westerly shear affected the system, although the storm continued to intensify.[6] Gordon soon began to organize once again, however, with lightning activity increasing in the inner core and a band of deep convection developing very near the center.[7] Gordon moved northwest through the Gulf of Mexico, in the general direction of New Orleans. The system was expected to intensify into a Category 1 hurricane shortly before landfall,[8][9][10][11][12] and hurricane warnings were issued accordingly for Mississippi and Alabama.[13] Ultimately, however, Gordon did not intensify into a hurricane before making landfall near the Mississippi–Alabama border. The system attained a peak sustained wind speed of 70 mph (110 km/h) at 10:00 p.m. CDT, September 4—at the upper limit of tropical storm strength.[14] Rapid weakening occurred on September 5 as Gordon moved further inland and meandered around the state of Arkansas, and the system degenerated into a remnant low the following day. On September 8, the remnants of Gordon weakened into a low-pressure trough, and were absorbed by a developing extratropical cyclone a few hours later.[1] The new extratropical low moved northeastward for the next few days, producing more rainfall over the region, before dissipating on September 11.[1]

Preparations and impact[edit]

Rainfall associated with Gordon and its extratropical remnants


Tropical Storm Gordon formed near the Florida Keys and brought tropical-storm-force winds to southern Florida. Governor Rick Scott of Florida urged Floridians to prepare and "remain vigilant."[15][16] Shortly afterwards, a hurricane warning was issued in Mississippi and Alabama, with tropical-storm warnings extending around it into Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle.[17] Several locations in southern Florida observed tropical-storm-force winds gusts, including a gust of 51 mph (82 km/h) in Opa-locka. More than 8,000 people were left without electricity in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. One death occurred in Miami on Interstate 95 when a truck driver lost control of his vehicle, crashed into a wall, and was ejected from the truck.[18][19] A second death was reported after a tree crushed a mobile home in Pensacola, killing a child inside.[14] Gusty winds were also reported in the Panhandle, with Pensacola receiving wind gusts to 61 MPH.[20] Rainfall was also significant in Escambia County, Florida, with rainfall totals of up to 10 inches in the Pensacola and Gulf Breeze area.[21]


Dauphin Island, Alabama bore the brunt of Gordon. A storm surge of 3–5 ft (0.9–1.5 m) struck the island, causing minor flooding.[22] A one-minute sustained wind of 67 mph (108 km/h) and a peak gust of 74 mph (119 km/h) were also reported there. Homes on the island sustained roof and siding damage.[1] Tropical-storm-force winds penetrated inland as far as Mobile Regional Airport, downing trees in areas of southern Mobile County.[23] Farther inland, 5–8 in (130–200 mm) of rainfall caused flooding along several rivers, inundating streets and washing out dirt roads.[24]


Gordon weakening over the lower Mississippi Valley on the morning of September 5

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency for the state, deploying 200 Louisiana National Guardsmen, 63 high-water trucks, 39 boats, and four helicopters.[25] Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant and Alabama Governor Kay Ivey also declared states of emergencies.[26]


A Louisville cab driver was killed after being trapped by flood waters.[27] More than 3 inches (75 mm) of rain fell in Louisville, flooding streets, stranding cars, and causing the Louisville City FC soccer match to be suspended and the University of Louisville football game to be delayed.[28] In Morehead, a young child was swept in flood water and recovery efforts were ongoing as of September 9, 2018.[29]


On September 7, A Greene County Sheriff's Deputy was killed after his patrol vehicle was washed off of a rural county road at an unmarked low-water crossing at the Pomme de Terre River at the Greene County and Dallas County line during a bout of torrential rains. The deputy had been in the area responding to a 911-hang up call, likely as a result of the weather.[30][31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Daniel P. Brown; Andrew Latto; Robbie J. Berg (February 19, 2019). Tropical Storm Gordon (PDF) (Report). Tropical Cyclone Report. National Hurricane Center. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  2. ^ Michael Brennan (August 30, 2018). "NHC Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook Archive". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  3. ^ Stacy R. Stewart (September 2, 2018). "Potential Tropical Cyclone Seven Discussion Number 1". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  4. ^ Stacy R. Stewart (September 3, 2018). "Tropical Storm Gordon Special Discussion Number 4". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center.
  5. ^ Stacy R. Stewart (September 3, 2018). "Tropical Storm Gordon Discussion Number 6". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 4, 2018.
  6. ^ Daniel P. Brown (September 4, 2018). "Tropical Storm Gordon Discussion Number 7". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center.
  7. ^ Stacy R. Stewart (September 4, 2018). "Tropical Storm Gordon Discussion Number 9". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center.
  8. ^ Stewart (3 September 2018). "Tropical Storm GORDON". Retrieved 6 September 2018. …the cyclone is forecast to reach hurricane strength in 24-36 hours, just before landfall. For that reason, a Hurricane Warning has been issued for portions of the central Gulf Coast.… 36H 05/0600Z 30.6N 89.3W 65 KT 75 MPH...INLAND
  9. ^ Brown (3 September 2018). "Tropical Storm GORDON". Retrieved 6 September 2018. 24H 05/0000Z 30.0N 88.6W 65 KT 75 MPH
  10. ^ Pasch. "Tropical Storm GORDON". Retrieved 6 September 2018. 12H 04/1800Z 29.0N 87.5W 65 KT 75 MPH
  11. ^ Stewart. "Tropical Storm GORDON". Retrieved 6 September 2018. 12H 05/0000Z 29.8N 88.5W 65 KT 75 MPH
  12. ^ Stewart. "Tropical Storm GORDON". Retrieved 6 September 2018. …Gordon to reach hurricane strength before landfall.
  13. ^ Stewart (3 September 2018). "Tropical Storm GORDON". Retrieved 6 September 2018. …the cyclone is forecast to reach hurricane strength in 24-36 hours, just before landfall. For that reason, a Hurricane Warning has been issued for portions of the central Gulf Coast.
  14. ^ a b Max Golembo, Emily Shapiro with Melissa Griffin (Sep 5, 2018) [3:36 AM]. "Tropical Storm Gordon makes landfall in Mississippi; 1 death reported from storm".
  15. ^ CNN, Susannah Cullinane and Eric Levenson. "Tropical Storm Gordon lashes south Florida as it heads toward Gulf Coast". CNN. Retrieved 2018-09-03.
  16. ^ "Rick Scott on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-09-03.
  17. ^ "Updates: Tropical Storm Gordon forms; hurricane watch issued for Alabama coast". Retrieved 2018-09-03.
  18. ^ "Tropical Storm Gordon in South Florida: Power Outages, Rain, Rough Surf". The Weather Channel. September 3, 2018. Retrieved September 4, 2018.
  19. ^ "One dead as car crashes jam highways connecting Miami and Miami Beach". miamiherald. Retrieved 2018-09-05.
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ National Weather Service Mobile, Alabama (2018). "Storm Event Report for Flash Flooding in Alabama". Storm Events Database. Asheville, North Carolina: National Centers for Environmental Information. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  24. ^ National Weather Service Mobile/Pensacola. "Tropical Storm Gordon - September 2018". National Weather Service Mobile-Pensacola. Mobile, Alabama: National Weather Service. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  25. ^ CNBC (2018-09-04). "Tropical Storm Gordon races toward US Gulf Coast". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  26. ^ "Tropical Storm Gordon bears down on northern Gulf Coast, with hurricane warnings in effect". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  27. ^ WDRB (2018-09-04). "Cab driver drowns in Louisville after getting trapped in high water". WDRB. Retrieved 2018-09-09.
  28. ^ Novelly, Thomas; Hall, Shannon (8 September 2018). "Record-breaking rainfall causes flooding, wreaks havoc in Louisville". Courier-Journal. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  29. ^ WKYT (2018-09-04). "Morehead Mayor: Rescuers work to find child swept into culvert". WKYT. Retrieved 2018-09-09.
  30. ^ Springfield-News Leader (2018-09-08). "What We Know About The Greene County Deputy Who Died Friday Night". Springfield News Leader. Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  31. ^ ODMP (2018-09-08). "Officer Down Memorial Page for Deputy Aaron Paul Roberts". Retrieved 2018-09-08.

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