Published 7:51 p.m. UTC Sep 5, 2018
Tropical Storm Gordon made landfall just west of the Alabama-Mississippi border late Tuesday, bringing with it maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Authorities said that one child was killed after a tree fell on a mobile home near Pensacola as strong winds and heavy rain from Gordon swept through the Florida Panhandle. Escambia County Emergency Communications confirmed the death, but did not release the age and identity of the child.
Schools were closed and states of emergency were declared as the Gulf Coast braced for the heavy rains, high winds and storm surge.
More: Hurricane Florence next storm in the pipeline, and more are expected to follow
More: Airlines waive change fees ahead of Tropical Storm Gordon
"Please make your final preparations today in advance of #Gordon making landfall tonight," Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant tweeted.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards also declared a state of emergency, saying hundreds of National Guard members would be deployed in coastal areas. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a similar declaration.
"All coastal Alabama residents need to prepare now ahead of tonight’s potential landfall," she tweeted. "Our state will be ready for whatever Gordon may bring."
The governors of Florida and Texas said they were monitoring developments.
The National Hurricane Center called the storm "life-threatening" and warned that tornadoes were possible in Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. The hurricane warning stretched from the Pearl River that separates Mississippi and Louisiana to the Alabama-Florida border.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency set up locations for residents to pick up sandbags. In Biloxi, Mississippi, Mary Smith stocked up on supplies.
"Cold drinks, bread and, you know, canned foods," Smith said, listing her purchases.
Gordon is expected to dump 4 to 8 inches of rain over the western Florida Panhandle, southwest Alabama, southern and central Mississippi, eastern Louisiana and southern Arkansas, the National Weather Service said. Isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches could pound the area through late Thursday, and flash flooding is expected for much of the region.
Gordon took form as a tropical storm near the Florida Keys early Monday, blasting South Florida with high winds and hours of heavy rains. After hitting the Gulf Coast, it is forecast to move inland over the lower Mississippi Valley on Wednesday.
Contributing: The Pensacola News Journal; Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY; Greg Hilburn, Monroe (Louisiana) News Star ;WWLTV.com; Associated Press