Tropical Storm Gordon Spares Gulf Coast

Written by Cynthia Long, Managing Editor,, with news reports

Downgraded from hurricane to tropical storm, Gordon blew ashore Florida's Gulf Coast near Cedar Key at about 10:00 p.m. Sunday with sustained winds of 70 mph. Tropical storm-force winds extended outward up to 105 miles (168 km) from the center, but there were no injuries or major damage reported from the storm.

There was some localized flooding. A storm surge four feet above normal was reported Sunday night at the port of Tampa, and rainfall of up to 10 inches fell in Gordon's wake from Fort Myers in southwest Florida north to Cedar Key.

 Gordon knocked out power to much of Cedar Key, a rustic fishing village about 100 miles north (160 km) of Tampa. A voluntary evacuation had been recommended, but many of the 800 residents insisted on staying put, especially after the hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm.

At the height of the storm, about 120,000 power customers were without electricity, most in Tampa's metropolitan area.

As the storm's broad front swept across western Florida, the American Red Cross reported that about 500 people were taking advantage of 33 shelters it opened across the affected areas in the state.

Gordon's winds knocked out power in Cedar Creek, where most residents rode out the storm.

About 200 members of the National Guard have been activated in Florida to help handle the aftermath of floods and storm surges in low-lying coastal areas, and schools and roads have been closed in several coastal cities.

Overnight Gordon's winds fell to about 40 mph, and all tropical storm warnings had been discontinued for Florida's Gulf Coast as well as a tropical storm watch for the North Carolina coast. However, a tropical storm warning remained in effect Monday on the Atlantic Coast from Flagler Beach, Florida, to Little River Inlet, South Carolina.

Moving north-northeast at about 12 mph, Gordon was expected Monday to head across coastal Georgia and the Carolinas, which likely will see rough surf.

Gordon is the seventh named storm of the Atlantic storm season.

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