1.7 million Americans hunker down as a potential hurricane speeds toward the Gulf Coast

Tim Pearce, DCNFDCNF

Tropical storm Gordon is bearing down on the Gulf Coast, and experts expect it will become a hurricane before it makes landfall in the southern U.S.

Roughly 1.7 million people along the Gulf Coast are under a hurricane warning; another 6.5 million in surrounding areas are under a tropical storm watch. The governors of Mississippi and Louisiana have declared states of emergency to free up state and federal resources to be prepared for action in the aftermath of the storm. The mayor of New Orleans issued a voluntary evacuation notice for people living outside the city’s levee system, CNN reports.

Gordon first made landfall on the southern tip of Florida Monday morning and is expected to swing up and make a second landfall on the south-central Gulf Coast Tuesday evening, according to AccuWeather.

“Gordon is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and hurricane conditions to portions of the central Gulf Coast,” the National Hurricane Center said in a Tuesday report on the storm. “Heavy rainfall from Gordon will affect the western Florida Panhandle, southern Alabama, southern Mississippi and Louisiana, where totals could reach as high as 12 inches.”

Gordon, if it reaches hurricane status, will be one of the first of the 2018 hurricane season. Storms in 2017 caused record damage and brought devastating rain and wind to Puerto Rico, Florida and South Texas.

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