Track and forecasting

Gordon's track was likened to Hurricane Dawn in 1972. The National Hurricane Center described the storm as "a complex system, followed an unusual, erratic path over the western Caribbean Sea and islands, Florida and the southwestern Atlantic." Due to the path, the agency had difficulties in forecasting Gordon, and the forecast errors were 10% to 30% above the average of the previous decade.
Under the influence of this new ridge, the storm, which had been speeding northeast at 25 mph (40 km/h), turned to the north late on November 17. The hurricane's loop continued, and as it moved to a west-northwesterly heading Gordon briefly threatened North Carolina's Outer Banks before stalling offshore once again. In the presence of weak steering currents once again, Gordon lost strength and slipped back to tropical storm status with 70 mph (110 km/h) winds. On November 18, about 90 mi (150 km) off the Outer Banks, Gordon began a southward drift away from the North Carolina coast. In its brush with the Mid-Atlantic States, Gordon dropped 2–5 in (5–13 cm) with a maximum of 5.25 in (13.3 cm) recorded at Norfolk, Virginia. Warm waters improved its organization, but this did not result in stronger winds and the storm continued to weaken. Strong upper-level winds battered the storm from the northwest. They sheared away Gordon's upper-level convection while polluting the storm with colder and drier air that weakened its lower level convection.
A high-pressure system over the central United States drifted east and added a westward component to Gordon's southward motion, pulling the storm southwest towards Florida. The persistent shear and a continued lack of deep convection eventually reduced the storm's winds to below tropical storm force, and on the morning on November 20, Gordon became a tropical depression. The high pressure system over the continent continued pulling the depression towards the west until it made its final landfall near Cape Canaveral that night with winds of 30 mph (45 km/h). Between its three Floridian landfalls, Hurricane Gordon dumped 5–10 in (13–25 cm) of rain on Florida, with a station at Cooperstown recording 16.1 in (40.9 cm). The storm moved northward across Florida, northeastward across Georgia, and finally merged with a frontal system over South Carolina.