Gordon has begun hurling tropical storm-force winds onshore along the Alabama and western Florida Panhandle coastline.
Tropical Storm Gordon may be losing strength now that it has made landfall late Tuesday night, but there is little time to reflect as a hurricane and a pair of tropical waves bear watching in the Atlantic.
As of early Wednesday, Gordon was about 20 miles northwest of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, with sustained winds of 40 mph. It's moving to the northwest toward the coast at 14 miles per hour. It wasn't almost as bad as when Nate, the last hurricane to strike the USA, came ashore last October in nearby Biloxi, Mississippi. As Gordon moves away from Floridas west coast, forecasters said it will pull deep tropical moisture into the region during the afternoon, producing scattered thunderstorms that will gradually dissipate later in the evening.
The storm's strong winds have knocked out power in the Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama, leaving at least 30,000 people in the dark, several utility companies said.
The center predicted total rain amounts of 4-8 inches (10-20 centimeters) in the Florida panhandle and parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa and IL.
In anticipation of heavy rains, the Flood Protection Authority-East, or FPA, had closed 38 floodgates, 13 valve gates and a concrete barge gate on the Lake Borgne Surge Barrier near New Orleans, according to a news release. If it develops, it could become Tropical Storm Helene.
Rain was still falling but the lights were on Wednesday morning at a Waffle House restaurant in Mobile, where factory worker Jerome Richardson said he lost power in the storm Tuesday night.
"I just hope I don't have to throw out everything in my refrigerator when I get home", he said. Hurricane Florence was some 3,900 kilometres away from the US, and lining up behind it, another potential storm was likely to form not far off the coast of Africa.
A forecast track by the NHC shows the storm eventually heading into the central Atlantic by Monday.
It's still too early to tell whether the storm will make landfall or stay out at sea.