The National Hurricane Center in Miami said in its 11 a.m. EDT advisory that the storm was centered 60 miles (95 kilometers) west-northwest of Key Largo and 50 miles (80 kilometers) south-southeast of Marco Island.
Tropical Storm Gordon has formed off the southern tip of the Florida coast Monday morning. Tropical Storm warnings have been issued from the Alabama-Florida border westward to East of Morgan City, Louisiana.
Elsewhere, forecasters say, storm are expected to develop over the nation's midsection in coming days that could dump from 3 to 7 inches (8-17 centimeters) of rain in some areas. There are NO watches or warnings for Northwest Florida.
Volusia and Flagler counties are not expected to see the worst of the tropical storm's rain.
"This rainfall may cause flash flooding", the Miami-based NHC said. Some computer models suggest a weaker storm, while other suggest it reaches hurricane force winds.
Gordon is expected to continue on its current track or maybe a little more northwestward while continuing to strengthen, possibly near hurricane strength as it makes landfall.
At this point the forecast has Florence staying out to sea, not impacting the Caribbean or the continental United States. This is a fast developing story and we will have updates as soon as we get new information.
Norman said wind gusts clocked-in at 49 miles per hour at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport and 45 miles per hour in Bradenton around 1:30 p.m.
A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for the Central Gulf Coast, as a tropical disturbance near Cuba gains power.
The storm, which is now near the Bahamas, is moving north west towards the Gulf of Mexico. "While were not expecting any sustained tropical storm force winds, any one of these showers can produce winds of 30, 40, 45 miles per hour". A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for a portion of the Mississippi-Alabama border. Some forecast models are taking it to the north into the waters of the mid-Atlantic while others are taking Florence farther west.