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Tropical Storm Gordon on Tuesday barreled toward central U.S. Gulf Coast, where it was expected to become a hurricane and bring high winds and heavy rain to the region, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
The storm was due to come ashore late on Tuesday near the border between Louisiana and Mississippi, and drop as much as eight inches (20 cm) of rain in areas still recovering from last year's hurricanes.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency, saying 200 Louisiana National Guardsmen were being deployed, along with 63 high-water trucks, 39 boats, and four helicopters.
New Orleans' mayor, LaToya Cantrell, declared her own state of emergency and closed all non-essential government offices.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency warned of storm surges of between 3 and 5 feet and told South Mississippi residents to be prepared to evacuate.
Gordon was generating winds of 65 miles per hour (105 km per hour) on Tuesday as it steamed west-northwest at 17 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.
As of Tuesday morning, it was located about 230 miles east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, the Miami-based weather forecaster said.
U.S. oil producer Anadarko Petroleum evacuated workers and shut production at two offshore oil platforms on Monday, and other companies with production and refining operations along the Gulf Coast said they were securing facilities.
The U.S. Coast Guard also said the ports of New Orleans as well as Gulfport and Pascagoula, Mississippi, may have to close within 48 hours.
The storm passed over Florida's southern tip on Monday afternoon. There were no reports of any injuries or deaths or any damage to buildings, said Alberto Moscoso, a spokesman for the Florida Division of Emergency Management.