US Gulf Coast braces for Hurricane Gordon | News | DW | 04.09.2018
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US Gulf Coast braces for Hurricane Gordon

Authorities in the US warn a tropical storm that formed off Florida is expected to reach hurricane strength by the time it hits the central Gulf Coast on Tuesday. Louisiana has declared a state of emergency.

Tropical Storm Gordon is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane when it makes landfall near the border between the US states of Louisiana and Mississippi late Tuesday.

Some of the areas in the storm's path are still recovering from powerful hurricanes that battered the area a year ago.

In its latest alert, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Gordon was located about 305 kilometers (190 miles) east-southeast of the Mississippi River and packing maximum sustained winds of 100 kilometers per hour.

A hurricane warning is in place for the stretch of coast from the Louisiana-Mississippi border to the frontier between Alabama and Florida.

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Tourists pack suitcases into a car

Tourists leave their Miami hotel after a tropical storm warning on the Labor Day public holiday

State of emergency

The tropical storm formed off the Florida Keys early Monday, before lashing the southern part of the state with heavy rains and strong winds overnight. The Miami-based NHC warned Gordon was now moving quickly in a northwesterly direction and was expected to bring "life-threatening" storm surge to some parts of the Gulf coast.

Residents along the Mississippi coastline were told to prepare to evacuate, while Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency. He said Monday that 200 National Guard troops will be deployed to the state's southeast, along with 63 high-water trucks, 39 boats, and 4 helicopters.

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Authorities in New Orleans, which is just outside the area affected by the hurricane warning, urged residents within the levee protection area to stock up on supplies. Several communities not inside the levee system were under a voluntary evacuation order. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell also declared a state of emergency for the city.

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After it crosses the coast on Tuesday, Gordon is expected to move inland over the lower Mississippi Valley on Wednesday.

Last year, a series of powerful hurricanes swept across Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, killing thousands of people and causing massive power outages and billions of US Dollars worth of damage.

nm/cmk (Reuters, AP)

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