What first was looked at by officials of the National Hurricane Center as a tropical storm and potential hurricane is now being classified as a tropical depression. The ruthless storm of Gordon is expected to send its remnants straight through the country and possibly even to our area. Though the intensity of this storm seems to be decreasing, that is no excuse to underestimate the possible damages it can cause. As Gordon tore through the southernmost tip of Florida, it claimed the life of a baby, as it hurled a tree at a mobile home. Forecasters say possible tornadoes have been stirred up in southern Alabama, along with hefty amounts of rain.
As the storm moves inland, it looks set to center northwest, possibly into Arkansas, and then begin to head northeast towards the Great Lakes. Erie News Now Weather Director and Forecaster John Stehlin, predicted earlier this week that Gordon would “affect the coastline of Texas to Alabama and also bring a lot of rain to the region, with four to eight inches possible from LA to the Florida panhandle.” Stehlin’s predictions were nearly spot on as well, as the panhandle was drenched in over ten inches of rain within 24 hours as of Wednesday.
“The difference between a hurricane and a tropical storm are winds speeds. Tropical storm winds speeds are from 39-73 mph. While hurricane wind speeds start at 74 mph. The greater the wind speeds the higher the category. Gordon should only get as strong as a Cat. 1 hurricane with winds no greater than 95 mph.”
The reason Gordon has been classified recently as a tropical depression is due to the decreasing wind speeds, which have slowed to 38 mph and below, the maximum speed of winds in the tropical depression category. Now that the storm has begun to slow its course and turn into remnants, it will most likely die out without being classified as a truly developed hurricane at all. Though the majority of meteorologists and professionals believed the storm would turn into a hurricane and it never did, which truly shows how unpredictable the weather can be, and how it can even have a mind of its own.
As the life of Tropical Depression Gordon begins to die out while it moves up through the country, those in our area should stay alert to possible incoming rain and winds that may come along early this upcoming week, as the remaining strength of this storm weakens.