Tropical Storm Gordon likely to become a hurricane Tuesday

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Gordon strengthened rapidly overnight, and it was expected to hit the central Gulf of Mexico sometime late Tuesday.

Hurricane warnings stretch from the Florida/Alabama border to the Louisiana/Mississippi border as the storm center is most likely to strike along the Mississippi or Alabama coastline.

Storm Gordon is now battering South Florida with powerful gusts and heavy rain and it is expected to reach hurricane strength before making landfall just east of Louisiana.

The National Hurricane Center reported that the storm could unleash "life-threatening" storm surge to portions of the central Gulf Coast. As of the 8pm update winds are sustained around 60 miles per hour.

Miami Beach Police said via Twitter that the Labor Day holiday was "NOT a beach day", with rough surf and potential rip currents.

In New Orleans, a voluntary evacuation order is in effect for people who live in neighborhoods that are not protected by levees. More than 4,000 Florida Power & Light customers lost power Monday due to weather conditions.

Edwards announced at a news conference Monday evening that 200 National Guard troops will be deployed to southeastern Louisiana, where heavy rains and strong winds are anticipated Tuesday. According to a report by CNN, 13 million people are under a tropical storm warning as of Monday afternoon, and nearly 2 million people are under hurricane watches and storm surge warnings.

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There was a storm surge warning in effect for Shell Beach to Dauphin Island, and a storm surge watch west of Shell Beach to the mouth of the Mississippi River and east of Dauphin Island to Navarre.

"It's a relatively small storm, so you could go one or two counties away from you and it wouldn't be the same impacts".

The National Weather Service said Monday that Naples, Marco Island, and Everglades City in Florida were among the locations that could expect hazardous weather over the next 36 hours.

"With the peak of hurricane season upon us, now is the time to get prepared".

Airlines including Delta, Southwest and Frontier warned that delays and flight cancellations are possible at airports near the Gulf Coast because of the storm, and that they may waive fees for itinerary changes.

The tropical storm continues to approach the Gulf Coast. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect.

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