NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) – Tropical Storm Gordon weakened into a depression on Wednesday after making landfall on Tuesday night near the Alabama-Mississippi border and killing a child when a tree fell on a mobile home in Florida, the National Hurricane Center said.
While the center of the storm was well inland on Wednesday, it was still dumping heavy rains and causing flooding in western Florida and coastal Alabama. Property damage was minimal.
The storm was about 5 miles (8 km) west of Jackson, Mississippi, with maximum sustained winds of 30 miles per hour (48 km per hour), the NHC said. It will likely move across the lower Mississippi Valley through the day, bringing heavy rain and flooding, the NHC added.
A child was killed when a large tree fell on a mobile home in Pensacola, Florida about 9 p.m. local time, an Escambia County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman said.
Separately, the NHC on Wednesday named storm Florence, which was about 1,370 miles (2,205 km) east-southeast of Bermuda, as the first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season with winds of 125 miles per hour (201 kph).
It was too early to say where or if Florence would make landfall or if it would hit the United States mainland, said Dennis Feltgen, spokesman for the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
“Bermuda is still outside the five-day cone,” said Feltgen by phone, referring to the area in which the NHC the storm may track.
Brian Hurley, forecaster with the National Weather Service in Maryland, said heavy rains would accompany remnants of Gordon in Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri over the next few days.
He said the risk of flash flooding was moderate in Alabama and the area where Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi converge.
Moderate to heavy flooding could be seen on roadways on Dauphin Island, Alabama and along coastal Alabama, along with a few toppled trees, according to video reports by WKRG in Mobile, Alabama.
Energy companies and port operators along the Gulf Coast were taking steps on Wednesday to resume operations after Gordon shut 9 percent of the region’s oil and natural gas production.
After the fear eased of production shut-ins because of the storm, oil prices fell about 1 percent on Wednesday.
Reporting by Kathy Finn, Additional reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York, Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee, Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Lisa Shumkaer