Tuesday April 23rd, 2019 10:10AM

Gordon may hit Gulf Coast as hurricane after nightfall

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — Residents along the Gulf Coast prepared Tuesday for a sudden increase in heavy rain and winds from quick moving Tropical Storm Gordon, which forecasters said could strengthen and become the second hurricane to hit the region in less than a year.

The lopsided storm gave families a chance to fill sandbags, take patio furniture inside and stock up on batteries and bottled water before the worst weather was to arrive close to nightfall.

Just hours before the storm was expected to come ashore, a few people remained on the beach, soaking in the sun before the tropical rain bands became more numerous. Others did their familiar pre-storm preparation rituals, including the staff at The Hotel Whiskey in Pass Christian, Mississippi, only about a block from the Gulf of Mexico. The hotel restaurant planned to stay open Tuesday evening as usual, fortified by sandbags to keep out torrential rains, the manager said.

"All the outside furniture has to come in, but honestly it's not even a freak-out kind of hurricane, so we're not super-stressed right now," Ashley Peeples said around midday Tuesday.

Gulfport was providing sand and bags to residents, and Kenny Macdonald was filling them up for himself and older residents.

"This is kind of routine to some degree," Macdonald said. "You don't know what the intensity of the storm is going to be. You don't want to take it lightly, of course."

A hurricane warning was in effect for the entire Mississippi and Alabama coasts with the possibility Gordon would become a Category 1 storm. The National Hurricane Center predicted a "life-threatening" storm surge of 3 to 5 feet (0.9 to 1.5 meters) along parts of the central Gulf Coast.

Flooding also was a risk. As much as 8 inches (20 centimeters) of rain could fall in some parts of the Gulf states through late Thursday as the tropical weather moves inland toward Arkansas.

By Tuesday afternoon, the storm was centered 95 miles (155 kilometers) southeast of Biloxi, Mississippi, with top sustained winds of 70 mph (110 kph). Forecasters said it was possible Gordon's winds might meet the 74 mph (120 kph) threshold to be a hurricane before making landfall later Tuesday.

The last hurricane to strike the U.S. was Nate last October, coming ashore in Biloxi with 75 mph (120 kph) winds.

Governors in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana all declared states of emergency, allowing them to mobilize state resources and National Guard troops to help during and after the storm.

Mississippi shut down a dozen Gulf Coast casinos as the storm neared. Workers on at least 54 oil and gas production platforms were evacuated.

Gordon became a tropical storm Monday near the Florida Keys, so residents and businesses rushed preparations Tuesday. But for some people, it was just another beach day with a bit of a breeze.

Morgan Kearley took the potted plants off her porch Tuesday before heading to the beach at Bay St. Louis with her husband, their daughter and a niece and nephew. They stayed near the edge of the water as a stiff breeze from the south rarely relented.

"I think we've had worse in the past," Kearley's husband, Shane, said.

Mayors of barrier islands in the storm's path warned that their communities might get cut off from the mainland.

"When you get the higher waves, water starts splashing across. Sometimes it starts pushing not only water across but debris, logs and things of that nature, which makes it very treacherous to get across," said Jeff Collier, mayor of Dauphin Island, Alabama.

Gordon was poised for only a glancing blow to New Orleans, where Mayor LaToya Cantrell said the city has "the pumps and the power" needed to protect residents.

Authorities issued a voluntary evacuation order for areas outside the city's levee protection system, including the Venetian Isles, Lake Saint Catherine and Irish Bayou communities.

L. J. Cazaux moved his boat to a nearby lot of elevated land before the rain started in Venetian Isles. He elevated his house off the ground after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and has food, water and two generators.

"You just blend it into your lifestyle when you live outside the levee system. You know you're going to flood before anyone else does. The good part about it is the water goes down faster here," said Cazaux, who has lived in the neighborhood for 15 years.

Gordon was not the only storm being watched by forecasters. Hurricane Florence was some 2,400 miles (3,900 kilometers) away from the U.S., and another potential storm was likely to form not far off the coast of Africa and head east.

The National Hurricane Center said it is way too early to know if either of those storms will have any impact on land.

"It's the peak of hurricane season. Now is the time to get your plans all set," Hurricane Director Ken Graham said.


McGill reported from Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Associated Press writers Jeff Martin and Ben Nadler in Atlanta; Jay Reeves in Dauphin Island, Alabama; Emily Wagster Pettus and Jeff Amy in Jackson, Mississippi; Kim Chandler in Montgomery, Alabama; Rebecca Santana in New Orleans; Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina, contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Business, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Online Headlines - Georgia News, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Utilities
© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Good for business? Nike gets political with Kaepernick ad
Why do it? Nike has touched off a furor by wading into football's national anthem debate with an ad featuring Colin Kaepernick
5:51PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel abandons quest for third term
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel abandons quest for third term in 2019
5:45PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Gordon may hit Gulf Coast as hurricane after nightfall
Tropical Storm Gordon could hit Gulf Coast as a Category 1 hurricane after nightfall
5:27PM ( 48 minutes ago )
U.S. News
No. 11 LSU, No. 12 Virginia Tech make big jumps in AP Top 25
No. 11 LSU and No. 12 Virginia Tech make biggest jumps in first Top 25 of regular season
6:07PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Sting operation recovered Dorothy's stolen ruby slippers
A pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz" were recovered in a sting operation 13 years after a smash-and-grab at a Minnesota museum
5:44PM ( 31 minutes ago )
House Ethics Committee investigating Iowa Rep. Rod Blum
The House Ethics Committee is investigating whether U.S. Rep. Rod Blum violated any rules related to his role in an outside business
5:39PM ( 36 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Fragments found in Brazil museum fire provide some hope
Firefighters found bone fragments from the collection of the still-smoldering National Museum raising hopes that a famed skull might somehow have survived a massive blaze that turned historic and scientific artifacts to ashes
4:59PM ( 1 hour ago )
Amazon is 2nd US company to reach $1 trillion market value
Amazon has become the second publicly traded company to be worth $1 trillion, hot on the heels of Apple
4:48PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Condoleezza Rice says Kavanaugh 'listens'
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is praising Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, saying he "listens, especially to those with whom he disagrees."
4:28PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Colin Kaepernick's Nike deal prompts flurry of debate online
An endorsement deal between Nike and Colin Kaepernick is prompting a flood of debate online as sports fans react to the apparel giant backing the quarterback
2:58PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Parkland victim's father approaches Kavanaugh
A man whose daughter died in the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., tried to shake the hand of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during a break in Tuesday's confirmation hearing
2:51PM ( 3 hours ago )
Former Arizona US Sen. Jon Kyl to replace John McCain
Prolonging the uncertainty over who will fill the late John McCain's U.S. Senate seat, the governor of Arizona announced the appointment of former Sen. Jon Kyl but said he has only committed to serve until the end of the year
2:37PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel won't seek 3rd term
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he won't seek a third term in 2019
2:30PM ( 3 hours ago )
Water coolers replace school drinking fountains in Detroit
Thousands of Detroit public schools students are being told to drink from district-supplied water coolers or bottled water on the first day of classes
2:00PM ( 4 hours ago )
Judge to rule if anti-gay killing suspect faces murder trial
Prosecutors say the hatred that inspired a California man to kill a gay University of Pennsylvania student is spelled out on the suspect's cellphone, laptop and social media
11:52AM ( 6 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
Strong typhoon slams western Japan; 8 dead, airport flooded
A powerful typhoon has slammed into western Japan, flooding the region's main international airport, disrupting land travel and leaving at least eight people dead
12:09PM ( 6 hours ago )
The Latest: Trump weighs in on NBC-Ronan Farrow dispute
The Latest: President Donald Trump is joining criticism of NBC News for passing last year on journalist Ronan Farrow's investigation into alleged sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein
11:30AM ( 6 hours ago )
Garland's stolen ruby slippers from 'Wizard of Oz' are found
Federal authorities say they have recovered a pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz" that were stolen from a museum in her Minnesota hometown 13 years ago
10:26AM ( 7 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
A look at companies embroiled in recent political debates
A look at companies that have recently been pulled into America's political turmoil
5:17PM ( 58 minutes ago )
Health and tech stocks dip; Amazon flirts with $1 trillion
US stocks finish slightly lower as health care and technology companies suffer losses, but banks rise and Amazon climbs again
4:52PM ( 1 hour ago )
Markets Right Now: Tech and health care stocks slip
US stocks are closing lower as technology and health care companies take losses
4:13PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
AP Online - Georgia News
AP Online Headlines - Georgia News
Markets Right Now: Tech stocks pull US indexes lower
US stocks are trading lower as technology and health care companies take losses
11:58AM ( 6 hours ago )
US stocks slip as technology companies open lower
US stocks are lower as technology companies decline
10:40AM ( 7 hours ago )
European automakers claim cutting emissions could cost jobs
A lobby group representing European automakers says EU proposals for cutting emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide could result in manufacturing job losses
10:39AM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Priest: Family wants justice in killing of mother, daughters
A priest says Shanann Watts will be remembered as a 'woman of love' and her two young two daughters as being filled with life and joy
7:18PM ( 2 days ago )
9 injured in blaze at German refinery; hundreds evacuated
Nine people have been injured in a blaze at a refinery in Bavaria, while another 1,800 people living close by were temporarily evacuated
9:05AM ( 3 days ago )
California approves measure to pass on wildfire costs
The California Legislature has approved a measure allowing higher electricity bills to help utilities pay off lawsuits stemming from last year's deadly wildfires
2:44AM ( 3 days ago )
AP Business - Utilities
Good for business? Nike gets political with Kaepernick ad
Why do it? Nike has touched off a furor by wading into football's national anthem debate with an ad featuring Colin Kaepernick
5:51PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel abandons quest for third term
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel abandons quest for third term in 2019
5:45PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Massachusetts primary will feature spirited House challenges
Several members of the all-Democratic U.S. House delegation in Massachusetts face spirited challenges in Tuesday's primary election
5:25PM ( 51 minutes ago )
Tiny Alaska village experiences boom in polar bear tourism
A tiny Alaska Native village has experienced a boom in tourism in recent years as polar bears spend more time on land than on diminishing Arctic sea ice
5:24PM ( 51 minutes ago )
Official: Anti-gay content found on killing suspect's phone
An investigator has testified that a California man charged with killing a gay University of Pennsylvania student had troves of anti-gay, anti-Semitic and white hate group materials on his phone
5:21PM ( 55 minutes ago )