Falling tree kills Florida child in tropical storm Gordon

Sep 07, 2018, 01:38
Falling tree kills Florida child in tropical storm Gordon

Tropical Storm Gordon made landfall around 11 p.m. Tuesday, just west of the Alabama - Mississippi border, the National Hurricane Center said.

Hurricane Florence has strengthened into a major Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds at 130 miles per hour with higher gusts as of 5 p.m.

While Northwest Florida was expected to feel relatively minimal effects from the storm, areas along the coast from Santa Rosa to Walton Counties were bracing for stronger-than-average winds and heavy rains throughout the day and into Tuesday night.

Overnight, Tropical Storm Gordon hit the Gulf Coast, dumping rain and powerful winds of 70 miles per hour on three states, spawning tornadoes and kicking up heavy surf in its wake.

Governors in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama declared a state of emergency, while companies cut 9 per cent of US Gulf of Mexico oil and gas production.

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At least one person has died so far as a result of the storm - a child in Florida who was killed by a falling tree in Pensacola.

The center predicted total rain amounts of 4-8 inches (10-20 centimeters) in the Florida panhandle and parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa and IL.

In anticipation of heavy rains, the Flood Protection Authority-East, or FPA, closed 38 floodgates, 13 valve gates and a concrete barge gate on the Lake Borgne Surge Barrier near New Orleans, according to a news release. "You don't want to take it lightly, of course".

Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. on Tuesday evacuated employees and shut in several platforms in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Gordon is on track to become the first tropical storm to make landfall in the US this season.

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Other major oil producers, including ConocoPhillips, BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, said they continued to operate and were monitoring conditions. But it's the last day of heat and humidity before cooler, less humid air returns Friday into this weekend.

Moderate to heavy flooding could be seen on roadways on Dauphin Island, Alabama and along coastal Alabama, along with a few toppled trees, according to video reports by WKRG in Mobile, Alabama. Still, the southeastern part of the state remains under a tropical storm warning and residents need to be prepared for the storm to shift west, Edwards said.

"As we've seen in the past, Pensacola's experienced numerous tropical systems over the course of the last ten years", says Cullen. "Now is the time to get your plans all set", director Ken Graham said.

200 members of the National Guard were readied in Louisiana to prepare for the storm, which ended up mostly staying away from the state but still caused inundation through storm surges.

MS shut down a dozen Gulf Coast casinos, while workers on at least 54 oil and gas production platforms were evacuated.

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The peak of hurricane season is September 10.