Tropical Storm Gordon Forms Near Florida Keys; Could Impact Arkansas Later This Week

(CNN) — Tropical Storm Gordon formed in the Florida Keys on Monday morning, and tropical storm warnings have been issued for parts of south Florida and the Keys, with heavy rains likely, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm is headed west-northwest at 17 mph into the Gulf of Mexico and has maximum winds of 45 mph. Additional strengthening is forecast within the next 48 hours.

Gordon is forecast to pass over the Florida Keys on Monday, emerge over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico by Monday evening and reach the central Gulf Coast by late Tuesday.

Current track models show the storm headed for Arkansas and Oklahoma later this week.

“It looks like the remnants of it will reach Oklahoma and Arkansas on Friday,” said 5NEWS Meteorologist Sabrina Bates. “We’ll most likely see heavy rain. But the timing of it is still uncertain.”

A tropical storm warning has been issued for portions of the central Gulf Coast from the Alabama-Florida border westward to east of Morgan City, Louisiana, including Lake Pontchartrain.

A storm surge watch is in effect from the Mississippi-Alabama border westward to the mouth of the Mississippi River.

“Gordon will bring heavy rainfall and tropical storm conditions to portions of South Florida and the Florida Keys today and a tropical storm warning is in effect for these areas,”¬†the hurricane center said Monday.

It warned that heavy rainfall from the system would affect portions of the central Gulf Coast later in the week.

‘Get prepared’

Florida Gov. Rick Scott tweeted that Floridians and visitors should monitor the weather system and remain vigilant.

“Right now, according to @NHC_Atlantic, the biggest impact to our state will be heavy rain, but in Florida, we know how quickly weather can change,” he said.

“With the peak of hurricane season upon us, now is the time to get prepared. Make sure that you and your family have a plan in place in case of disaster.”