Up to 8 inches of rain was expected to have covered parts of south Florida by Tuesday, with 1 to 2 inches projected around Tampa Bay, according to Norman, the National Weather Service meteorologist. Tropical Storm Gordon now sits about 50 miles west of Fort Myers, Florida.

The path still brings the storm toward South Mississippi's Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson counties, which are under hurricane warnings.

The hurricane center's latest "cone of uncertainty" for Tropical Storm Gordon is a good representation of numerous weather computer models: Most are in good agreement the storm will move off to the northwest.

The combination of a risky storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. After making landfall, it is expected to charge inland over the lower Mississippi Valley on Wednesday. There were no reports of any injuries or deaths or any damages to buildings, said Alberto Moscoso, a spokesman for the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

Red flags flew over Pensacola-area beaches in Florida's Panhandle, where swimming and wading in the Gulf of Mexico was prohibited. We're being told to expect rain and wind, and we're preparing accordingly.

Hurricane warnings stretch from the Florida/Alabama border to the Louisiana/Mississippi border as the storm center is most likely to strike along the Mississippi or Alabama coastline. A Storm Surge Warning is in effect. "All preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion, as tropical storm conditions are expected to arrive in the warning areas Tuesday afternoon".

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"The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to the east of the landfall location, where the surge will be accompanied by large waves", the center said.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared states of emergency. Additional strengthening is expected as the system approaches the Gulf Coast.

The Louisiana coastal town of Grand Isle has also issued a voluntary evacuation order.

Some communities in South Florida were assessing the damage Tuesday after bands of weather left swaths of beachfront sand missing in some places.

The National Hurricane Center now believes Gordon will be a category one hurricane when it reaches the northern Gulf of Mexico. A storm surge watch spreads west to the mouth of the Mississippi River and east to Navarre, FL. It continued to spin in the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean - posing no threat to Florida or any other land mass. It was moving west at 15 miles per hour, pushing maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour with higher gusts.Forecasters said that little change in strength was expected and that no coastal watches or warnings were in effect.

The storm was forecast to come ashore late on Sep.


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