Storm Gordon weakens after landfall in southern US

The National Hurricane Center also issued a storm surge warning meaning possible

The NHC's key messages are that heavy rainfall from Gordon will affect the western Florida Panhandle, southwest Alabama, southern and central MS, northeastern Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, southern Iowa and IL, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches through early Saturday.

The storm was producing gusty winds and heavy rain along the coast of the western Florida Panhandle and along the Texas coast, the National Hurricane Center said in an afternoon advisory. However, no major damage or serious injuries were reported, other than the one fatality - a baby in a mobile home, struck by a large tree limb in Pensacola late Tuesday.

The weakened storm brings threats of heavy rain and flash flooding across the lower Mississippi Valley.

Red flags were posted along the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, warning beach-goers to stay out of the water because of risky rip currents. By Wednesday afternoon the numbers were down to about 5,800 in Alabama, 3,000 in MS and a little more than 2,000 in Florida. The name and age of the child were not released.

"They were opening up Lake Powell today [Tuesday] in order to make sure that it's draining properly and of course the Deer Point Dam, they've been drawing that down as the weather keeps coming", Smith said. MS shut down a dozen Gulf Coast casinos.

Had the storm remained a hurricane when it hit land, it would have been the first hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. in the 2018 hurricane season. S.J. who attends Walker Elementary School, and Destiny, a senior at Crestview High School, said they were happy to have the day off from school. "The storms already in the north-central portion of the Gulf of Mexico at the moment and those storms will continue pulling north-northwest over the next 12 hours while Gordon moves on".

Sea levels could rise as much as 5 feet (1.5 m) from Shell Beach, Louisiana, to Dauphin Island, Alabama, forecasters said.

Tropical storm Gordon started as a tropical depression in the Caribbean on Sunday, becoming a tropical storm Monday near the Florida Keys, according to Clark.

As of early Wednesday, Gordon was about 20 miles northwest of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, with sustained winds of 40 mph.

"I just hope I don't have to throw out everything in my refrigerator when I get home", he said.

"We're way up here, and I think we'll be okay", she said.

Similarly, a storm surge led to flooding along the Gulf Coast and barrier islands. Workers on at least 54 oil and gas production platforms were evacuated.

"It's the peak of hurricane season", Hurricane Center director Ken Graham told The Associated Press.