One child was reportedly killed and thousands are without power as Tropical Storm Gordon smashed into the central Gulf Coast, making landfall between Alabama and the Florida panhandle Tuesday night with high-force winds and a heavy downpour.
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.
Gordon could drop heavy rain - generally 4 to 8 inches, but as many as 12 - from Florida's western panhandle to southern Arkansas through Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said.
Brian Hurley, forecaster with the National Weather Service in Maryland, said heavy rains would accompany remnants of Gordon in Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri over the next few days. Water levels along the northern Gulf of Mexico will gradually subside Wednesday morning.
Tornadoes also are possible through Tuesday night near the Mississippi, Alabama and Florida coasts, the NHC said.
Gulfport was providing sand and bags to residents, and Kenny Macdonald was filling them up for himself and older residents. The name and age were not released. "It's part of life on the Gulf Coast, just something we have to deal with".
Tropical storm conditions - winds of at least 39 miles per hour - could hit the Gulf Coast earlier.
Other major oil producers, including ConocoPhillips, BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, said they continued to operate and were monitoring conditions.
Dauphin Island, off the coast of Alabama, took a direct hit.
Trucks with the Alabama Department of Transportation work to block off a flooded part of US Highway 98 while fighting rain from Tropical Storm Gordon on Wednesday in Spanish Fort, Ala. It brought with it heavy rains and sustained winds of 70 miles per hour, just shy of hurricane strength. "Now is the time to get your plans all set", he said.
"We're not expecting any severe weather", he said.
MS shut down a dozen Gulf Coast casinos, while workers on at least 54 oil and gas production platforms were evacuated.
In Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency Monday and said 200 National Guard troops will be deployed to southeastern Louisiana.
The storm left many businesses on Florida's Gulf Coast feeling shortchanged by the holiday weekend.
The peak of hurricane season is September 10.
It's hard for models to get a good handle on this wave until it's able to establish itself over water, and we'll have plenty of time to watch it over the next several days.