Water levels from storm surge along the Gulf of Mexico will gradually subside Wednesday morning, the NHC said. As much as 8 inches (20 centimetres) of rain could fall in some parts of the Gulf states through late Thursday.
Tropical Storm Gordon lashed South Florida with heavy rains and high winds on Monday and is expected to strengthen into a hurricane when it hits the central U.S. Gulf Coast.
A hurricane warning remained in effect from the mouth of the Pearl River to the Alabama-Florida border, as did a tropical storm warning for the Alabama-Florida border to the Okaloosa-Walton County line.
The first is its speed - Gordon is moving relatively fast at 17 miles per hour and is losing how much warm Gulf water is has to grow stronger.
Hurricane warnings are posted for Alabama and MS with Tropical Storm Warnings for parts of eastern Louisiana. In this zone, the water could rise up 3 to 5 feet above normally dry land at the coast.
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.
Authorities across the Gulf Coast urged people to stay out of the water - warnings that beach lovers like Cameron Armstrong and Matthew Ewbanks ignored on their visit to Gulf Shores on the Alabama Gulf Coast. Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 45 miles per hour (75 kph).
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Strong wind gusts, battering waves, above-normal tides, minor coastal flooding, flash flooding and a couple of isolated tornadoes and waterspouts will be the main threats from the storm, AccuWeather said. Tropical Storm Warnings are also in effect for inland areas of Collier, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.
The National Hurricane Center reported that the storm could unleash "life-threatening" storm surge to portions of the central Gulf Coast. Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other risky conditions.
Governor John Bel Edwards said "nobody should panic but everyone should take this seriously".
While the 2018 hurricane season has been a quiet one for the Cape Fear coast so far, September - and even October (Hurricane Hazel in 1954) - has historically been a busy time for tropical weather systems to menace the Wilmington area.
The warning covers all of coastal MS and Alabama, the National Hurricane Center said.
Areas under a storm surge watch and storm surge warning.