Gordon will make a direct and impactful landfall along the Gulf Coast Monday night, bringing hurricane force winds, storm surge, and up to 200 mm of rain to parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
After marching up from the Florida Keys and lashing South Florida on Monday with rain, Gordon was centered Tuesday evening over the Gulf of Mexico, about 75 miles southeast of Biloxi, Mississippi, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.
A hurricane warning is in effect from the mouth of the Pearl River near the Louisiana-Mississippi border to the Alabama-Florida border, with tropical storm warnings ranging from Morgan City, La., to the Florida Panhandle.
The first 10 days of September typically generate the highest number of storms for the season, when conditions become most favorable off the African coast where many storms are born, said National Hurricane Center specialist Jack Beven. The National Hurricane Center initially predicted Gordon would become a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of more than 74 miles per hour.
The mid-week report from Florida Fish and Wildlife shows that background concentrations of the organism that causes red tide are lower in many areas, but that can't for sure be attributed to the storm's path.
There are no watches or warnings for this storm.
Grand Isle Mayor David Campardelle called for a voluntary evacuation of the barrier island.
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Schools have been closed along the coast and governors in MS and Louisiana have already declared a state of emergency as the storm advances. MS shut down a dozen Gulf Coast casinos. Hurricane Florence was some 2,400 miles away from the US, and lining up behind it, another potential storm was likely to form not far off the coast of Africa.
In anticipation, the center announced a storm surge warning, meaning there is "a danger of life-threatening inundation", along the coast from Louisiana to Florida, according to the NHC's morning briefing.
A hurricane warning continued early Wednesday morning for all of coastal MS and Alabama, with a tropical storm warning reaching from the Alabama-Florida border to Florida's Okaloosa-Walton county line. "The city's absolute No.1 priority is to ensure the safety of our residents".
Siding was peeled off some houses, but Mayor Jeff Collier said "for the most part, we did OK".
The city expected to feel the storm's impact through Wednesday, she said.
Hurricane season in the U.S. started on June 1 and will last until November 30. "Now is the time to get your plans all set", director Ken Graham said.