Heavy rain hits Florida as Gulf Coast braces for looming tropical storm

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There were no immediate indications that the storm had affected energy operations in the Gulf of Mexico area. MacDonald said that while such preparations become all too routine, one must remain wary. You know you're going to flood before anyone else does.

"This is the price you pay to look at this attractive water and enjoy the coast", Pascagoula resident Richard Whitlock said as he raked leaves and branches from his yard overlooking the Gulf.

The National Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane watch along the border of Alabama and Louisiana because sustained winds are forecast to reach 70 mph, just 4 miles short of hurricane strength.

Strong wind gusts, battering waves, above-normal tides, minor coastal flooding, flash flooding and a couple of isolated tornadoes and waterspouts will be the main threats from the storm, AccuWeather said.

Gordon is expected to produce rain accumulations of 4 to 6 inches over southern Alabama, southern and central MS, and southeastern and northeastern Louisiana, with isolated maximum amounts of 8 inches through late Thursday, according to the hurricane center.

The first is its speed - Gordon is moving relatively fast at 17 miles per hour and is losing how much warm Gulf water is has to grow stronger.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency Monday and said 200 National Guard troops will be deployed to the southeastern part of the state.

On the Mississippi Gulf Coast, 12 casinos that were ordered closed Tuesday were given permission Wednesday to open at noon. Workers on at least 54 oil and gas production platforms were evacuated.

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"Gordon will not be just a coastal event, and not just wind but also water could be damaging, risky and even deadly, especially if preparations are not rushed to completion as early as possible today before tropical storm conditions arrive", said Rick Knabb, The Weather Channel's tropical weather expert.

A storm surge covered barrier islands as the storm blew through, and some inland roadways were flooded by the rain.

"I'm asking all residents to do their part in getting ready for this storm", New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said in a statement.

It promised more of the same on a forecast track expected to take it northeast into Arkansas, which was forecast to get heavy rain from the system by Wednesday night. He elevated his house off the ground after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and has food, water and two generators.

"You just blend it into your lifestyle when you live outside the levee system. The good part about it is the water goes down faster here", said Cazaux, who has lived in the neighborhood for 15 years.

Gordon was not the only storm being watched by forecasters. Storm surge warnings have been issued there, as well.

"It's the peak of hurricane season".