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.
In its 8 a.m. advisory, the National Hurricane Center downgraded Gordon to a tropical depression as it moved farther inland across Mississippi, Louisiana and into Arkansas through Thursday.
A vehicle drives down a flooded street after Tropical Storm Gordon in Dauphin Island, Alabama, U.S., September 5, 2018.
At 5 a.m. ET, Gordon's top sustained winds had accelerated to 65 miles per hour. But forecasters warn that the storm, which is expected to achieve hurricane status by Sunday, is still far out in the Atlantic and could change course.
A state of emergency has been declared in Louisiana and MS as Tropical Storm Gordon roars towards the US Gulf Coast.
Coastal areas from the Florida Panhandle to Louisiana could experience 4-8 inches of rain, with isolated totals of 12 inches through late Thursday that could cause unsafe flash flooding and "life-threatening" storm surge, according to the hurricane center. No watches or warnings are now in effect.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey declared emergencies.
There are 12 casinos along the Mississippi Coast. Workers on at least 54 oil and gas production platforms were evacuated.
Sea levels could rise as much as 1.5 metres from Shell Beach, Louisiana, to Dauphin Island, Alabama, forecasters said. "Swells from Florence could also reach the U.S. East Coast by early next week", the NHC said.
Escambia county received 10 calls overnight for downed trees in roadways, along with multiple reports of arcing power lines as the storm blew through with peak gusts of 98 km/h.
New Orleans is expected to feel the impact of Gordon on Wednesday, with the Flood Protection Authority-East closing 38 floodgates, 13 valve gates and a concrete barge gate in the area.
"When you get the higher waves, water starts splashing across".
Experts say the system has 30-percent chance of development in the next 48 hours, while increasing to 80-percent over the next five days, according to the National Hurricane Center.
In New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued a voluntary evacuation notice for areas outside the levee system. A rather large spread in the global and hurricane models remains particularly drastic beyond day 4, however, the consensus models and the global ensemble means have have been fairly consistent from run to run. "Now is the time to get your plans all set", director Ken Graham said.