Gordon dumps heavy rains, Hurricane Florence barrels toward Bermuda

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[September 06, 2018]  By Kathy Finn

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Tropical Depression Gordon was expected on Thursday to dump more rain on central U.S. states, while Hurricane Florence, a monster Category 3 storm, churned toward Bermuda, the National Hurricane Center said.

Downpours have flooded streets in Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi as the storm headed north and threatened to bring heavy rains to the Mississippi Valley and the Midwest over the next few days, the NHC said.

Some areas in northwest Mississippi, much of Arkansas and into the Midwest could get up to 7 inches (18 cm) of rain, with isolated amounts reaching 10 inches through Saturday, and is likely to cause flash flooding, the center said.

The storm, which made landfall late on Tuesday, has caused minimal property damage so far, the NHC said, but a two-year-old girl died when a tree fell on a mobile home in Pensacola, Florida, authorities said.

As of Thursday morning, less than 1,000 homes and businesses remained without power, according to PowerOutages.us as utility companies restored service for tens of thousands of customers across the region.

Energy companies and port operators along the Gulf Coast took steps to resume normal operations after Gordon shut 9 percent of the region's oil and natural gas production.

Oil prices fell about 1 percent on Wednesday, after fears about the storm eased.

TRACKING TOWARD BERMUDA

In the Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane Florence, a Category 3 storm on a five-step scale, headed for Bermuda on Thursday, packing maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour (mph) (185 km per hour).

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A car passes a sign after Tropical Storm Gordon in Dauphin Island, Alabama, U.S., September 5, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

The first major hurricane of the Atlantic season will affect Bermuda's surf by Friday, but it was too early to say whether it would hit land.

"Swells generated by Florence will begin to affect Bermuda on Friday and will reach portions of the U.S. East Coast over the weekend," the agency said. "These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions."

Florence was 1,170 miles east-southeast of Bermuda on Thursday morning.

Florence will continue to weaken during the next couple of days, but it "is expected to remain a strong hurricane for the next several days," the NHC said.

(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 Lisa Shumaker, Dale Hudson and Larry King)

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