Gordon, a tropical depression now, made landfall last night at near-hurricane strength on the central Gulf Coast. Today, it will be swirling across the Gulf Coast states, dumping heavy rain and potentially triggering flooding. Gusty winds will also be around at times, so the combination of wind and saturated soil may lead to spotty power outages.
Gordon will very slowly move to the north and west this Wednesday, remaining over Mississippi through about midnight tonight. Rounds of heavy rain and thunderstorms can be expected across the Gulf Coast states, and some of that moisture will even stream into the Tennessee and Ohio River Valleys this afternoon and evening. A few spotty strong to severe storms may also be possible, which includes the risk for a couple spin-up tornadoes given the fact that this is a tropical cyclone.
By Thursday morning, Gordon will either be a tropical depression or post-tropical cyclone as it crosses the Mississippi River and centers over Arkansas. The best risk for heavy rain will become focused on Arkansas, while hit or miss showers and storms swirl around the center and affect surrounding states, such as Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Again, heavy rain and localized flash flooding will be possible across these areas this Thursday.
Now on Friday, Gordon will start to become entangled with a stationary front draped across the Midwest. This will only enhance the flash flood threat across the region as the atmospheric moisture levels increase. Some of the model guidance, such as the NAM model, suggests the widespread development of moderate to heavy rain across parts of the Midwest. That includes Iowa and northern Missouri and Illinois, while more spotty showers will affect surrounding areas. Keep in mind the center of Gordon will still be located to the south over Arkansas, so we are really concerned about flooding in a city like Little Rock given how slow this tropical cyclone or remnant low is moving.
Now as we get into the weekend, Gordon will begin to takeover while the stationary front weakens. This will allow for the low pressure to gain forward speed and to move to the north and east. Therefore, the Midwest, especially the Ohio River Valley, will remain at risk for heavy rain and thunderstorms through the duration of this weekend. It’s during this time period that we’re most concerned about the risk for flash flooding. Some areas between now and Sunday night will likely end up with over 10 inches of rain.
Rain and thunderstorms will then move into the Northeast early-next week, which we will detail in a later article.