WASHINGTON: Tropical Storm Gordon was making landfall Tuesday night on the US Gulf Coast along the border of Alabama and Mississippi as hurricane warnings remained in place.
Authorities declared a state of emergency in both states as well as in the city of New Orleans in Louisiana – devastated in 2005 by mega Hurricane Katrina.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said Gordon, which formed near the upper Florida Keys Monday, was 48km southeast of the coastal city of Biloxi, Mississippi at 0300 GMT (8am Malaysia).
A hurricane warning was in place from the mouth of the Pearl River, on the Louisiana-Mississippi state line, to the Alabama-Florida border to the east.
Troy Peterson, the sheriff of Mississippi's Harrison County, declared a curfew from 7pm local time (8.01 Malaysia) until 7am the next day according to local broadcaster WLOX, while the Mississippi Gaming Commission ordered all casinos to stop operating at 5pm.
Gordon was moving on a northwesterly track at a speed of 23kph, packing maximum sustained winds of 113kph that extended up to 129km from the storm's centre.
"On the forecast track, the centre of Gordon will move inland across the lower Mississippi Valley through Wednesday," the NHC said in a statement.
Up to eight inches of rain could fall across the Gulf states. Meanwhile, warnings of a "life-threatening" storm surge of up to five feet were in place across a stretch of the Louisiana and Alabama coastline east of New Orleans.
"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 NHC said.
The NHC added it expects "rapid weakening" once Gordon makes landfall.