Tropical Storm Gordon is believed responsible for claiming at least one life before making landfall on the Gulf Coast. The storm, which has since been downgraded to a depression, dumped heavy rains across southern states.
The body of a child was found inside a Florida home just after 9 p.m. on Tuesday in what’s believed to be the first storm-related death. According to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, the child was killed when a tree fell on top of a mobile home in the 4000 block of West Bobe Street. Peak wind gusts of 61 mph had been reported in the area. No one else was inside the home at the time of the accident police said.
Authorities have yet to release the name or age of the child. No other deaths associated with the storm have been reported.
The storm made landfall Tuesday night near Pascagoula, Mississippi, just west of the Alabama border. It brought with it heavy rains and sustained winds of 70 mph, just shy of hurricane strength. It prompted states of emergency in Mississippi, Louisiana and parts of Alabama.
Gordon is weakening on its path into Arkansas early Wednesday but is expected to leave 4-8 inches of rain along its track, which could produce flash flooding in the Florida panhandle and parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa and Illinois, the National Hurricane Center said.
In addition to heavy rains, the Miami-based forecasting center said there is a possibility of tornadoes in Mississippi and western Alabama, where crews have been working throughout the night to restore lost power to more than 20,000 customers, mostly in coastal areas.
As Gordon slowly fizzles out, forecasters are turning their attention to Hurricane Florence, which is some 2,400 miles away from the U.S., and another potential storm near the coast of Africa. The possible impact of those two storms is not yet known.
“It’s the peak of hurricane season,” Hurricane Center director Ken Graham told The Associated Press. “Now is the time to get your plans all set.”