Tropical Storm Gordon is gaining strength as it heads northwest of Florida on 60 mile-per-hour winds, prompting a hurricane warning in several states.
The coastal corridor between the mouth of the Pearl River stretching to the Alabama-Florida border is expected to be hit with a hurricane around 2 a.m. local time on Wednesday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Gordon hit the southernmost tip of Florida around 8 a.m. Monday, before lashing the Keys with rain and 45 miles-per-hour gusts.
As it marches across the Gulf of Mexico on a course that is expected to reach as far north as Oklahoma, Gordon appears to be gathering strength. The storm could become a Category 1 hurricane before making landfall on Tuesday.
As of Monday evening, the National Weather Service issued a hurricane warning for the Gulf Coast including southeastern Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect from west of New Orleans all the way east to Florida’s Okaloosa-Walton County Line.
A Storm Surge Warning, which indicates a danger of life-threatening inundation and rapidly rising waters, covers between Shell Beach, Mississippi to Dauphin Island, Alabama.
In anticipation of the storm, local governments are rushing to prepare and some have issued voluntary evacuation orders.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency and activated 200 members of the National Guard, according to the Associated Press.
The Flood Protection Authority-East (FPA) has closed 38 floodgates in New Orleans and St. Bernard parishes, according to a press release.
In southern Mississippi, the Emergency Operations Center warned residents to prepare for heavy rainfall, tidal flooding and tropical storm-force winds. Much of southern Mississippi can expect 3 to 5 feet of storm surge, and people living in low lying areas have been advised to prepare to evacuate if waters begin to rise.
Tropical Storm Gordon is expected to continue traveling northwest for the next several days, potentially hitting parts of Southern Alabama and Louisiana by Tuesday afternoon. Gordon may travel into Arkansas and Oklahoma by Thursday and Friday, respectively, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Areas outside the storm’s direct path may also experience extreme weather, the NWS warns. Tropical storm-force winds could extend up to 45 miles beyond the storm center, it says.
Tropical Storm Gordon comes just a few weeks after Tropical Storm Lane brought heavy rains and flash-flood warnings to Hawaii, after at one point being categorized as a Category 5 hurricane.