Emergency on US Gulf Coast as Storm Gordon nears

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The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Gordon has made landfall just west of the Alabama-Mississippi border.

A state of emergency has been declared in Louisiana and MS as Tropical Storm Gordon lashes the US Gulf Coast.

Forecasters say they still expect Tropical Storm Gordon to become a hurricane before making landfall somewhere along or near the MS coast.

Also, it warns that coastal flooding may be an issue later this week.

Wednesday morning: Hurricane Gordon will be moving northwest through Mississippi.

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Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 15 miles from the storm's center, with tropical storm force winds outward up to 105 miles.

Inmates with the Hancock County Department of Corrections fill bags with sand as Tropical Storm Gordon approaches Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, U.S., September 4, 2018. "We're all being cautious and keeping an eye on it", said Cory Parker, business agent of IATSE Local 478 in the Big Easy, whose offices are still open at this time.

People living outside New Orleans' levee system have been asked to evacuate voluntarily and there are warnings of a "life-threatening" five-foot storm surge on the coast east of the city. Rapid weakening is expected after Gordon moves inland.

Governors in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama have declared states of emergency, according to NPR, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott asked for "Floridians and our visitors to remain vigilant", according to a statement.

According to Micheal Brennan, chief of the National Hurricane Centre's hurricane specialist unit, the dry air over the gulf and wind shear have kept Gordon from picking up more strength.

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Hurricane Nate was the last hurricane to strike the US, making landfall near Biloxi, Mississippi, last October.

Pensacola International Airport has reported more than 4 inches of rain, the heaviest total reported so far along the Gulf Coast. "Now is the time to get your plans all set", director Ken Graham said. "I think when you look at how rough the water is today, it's pretty self-explanatory". "Sometimes it starts pushing not only water across but debris, logs and things of that nature, which makes it very treacherous to get across", Mayor Jeff Collier said.

Grand Isle Mayor David Campardelle called for a voluntary evacuation of the barrier island. The beaches in Destin were crowded with people who were there to watch the storm roll in offshore.

Off to the east coast of Florida, storms are developing.

The storm's predicted track had shifted slightly east as of Monday evening, meaning Louisiana is now just outside the area under the hurricane warning.

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No watches or warnings are now in effect.