One child was reportedly killed and thousands are without power as Tropical Storm Gordon smashed into the central Gulf Coast, making landfall between Alabama and the Florida panhandle Tuesday night with high-force winds and a heavy downpour.
Gordon careened into the coastline around 10 p.m., clocking maximum sustained winds of 70 miles-per-hour, according to the National Hurricane Center. The fast-moving system did not reach the hurricane status previously forecast, however, warnings of “life-threatening” conditions remain in effect for areas expected to be hit with rapidly rising storm surges between Mississippi and Alabama.
In Pensacola, Florida, a child was killed when the wind felled a tree onto a mobile home.
The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post that they responded to a call about the incident just before 9 p.m. and found the deceased child, whose name and age have not been released. No one else was injured.
Schools were closed and states of emergency were declared across the central Gulf Coast in preparation for the storm – though the biggest threat now centers on heavy rain and flash floods.
The National Weather Service warned of a slight, 5%, risk that Gordon could hurl a tornado just east of the forecast path.
More than 27,000 customers were hit with power cuts as Gordon came ashore Tuesday night, the Associated Press reports. The outages primarily affected Alabama, with cuts also reported around the western edge of the Florida Panhandle around Pensacola as well as in Mississippi.
Gordon is expected to lose momentum as it moves inland, and is set to become a tropical depression by Wednesday.
Further offshore, another system, Florence, has rapidly coalesced into a category 2 hurricane and appears to barreling toward the tropical eastern Atlantic coastline.