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Blamed in baby's death, weakening Gordon spreads rain inland

 

The Associated Press

 

 

DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. -- Blamed for the death of a Florida baby and intense wind and rain that pummeled parts of the northern Gulf of Mexico coast, Tropical Depression Gordon weakened Wednesday but still spread bands of heavy rains across a swath of the South as it swirled over central Mississippi. 

 

Locally, a day of rain and storms from the tropical storm passed in the Golden Triangle without any significant damage. 

 

Oktibbeha County Emergency Management Director Kristen Campanella told The Dispatch her office didn't receive any reports of problems caused by the weather on Wednesday.  

 

Clay County Emergency Management Director Torey Williams also said his office didn't get any reports of damage. West Point Mayor Robbie Robinson and Clay County Board of Supervisors President R.B. Davis also confirmed they were not aware of any damage after a portion of the county was placed under a tornado warning on Wednesday afternoon. 

 

In Lowndes County, tornado sirens sounded in the mid-afternoon, but Lowndes County Emergency Management Director Cindy Lawrence likewise reported there was no damage. 

 

By Saturday, what's left of the storm was forecast to hook to the north, then northeast on a path toward the Great Lakes. National Weather Service offices in Missouri and Oklahoma said Gordon's remnants could add to the rain caused by a frontal boundary already causing heavy rains in parts of the Midwest. Flash flood watches stretched from the Florida panhandle, through parts of southwest Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa and Illinois. 

 

Gordon never reached hurricane strength by the time it came ashore Tuesday night just west of the Mississippi-Alabama line. Its maximum sustained winds reached 70 mph. It knocked out power to at least 27,000 utility customers in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. By Wednesday afternoon the numbers were down to about 5,800 in Alabama, 3,000 in Mississippi and a little more than 2,000 in Florida. 

 

Pictures on social media showed damaged roofs and debris-strewn beaches and roads. However, no major damage or serious injuries were reported, other than the one fatality -- a baby in a mobile home, struck by a large tree limb in Pensacola late Tuesday. 

 

A storm surge covered barrier islands as the storm blew through, and some inland roadways were flooded by the rain. 

 

"I just hope I don't have to throw out everything in my refrigerator when I get home," said Jerome Richardson, spending the morning at a Mobile Waffle House after losing power the night before at his home. 

 

With Gordon diminishing, there were new tropical weather concerns: Hurricane Florence has formed in the Atlantic Ocean, on a path toward Bermuda, and lining up behind it, another potential storm was likely to form not far off the coast of Africa. 

 

"It's the peak of hurricane season," Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said. "Now is the time to get your plans all set." 

 

Dispatch reporter Alex Holloway contributed to this report. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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