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Emergency on U.S. Gulf Coast as Storm Gordon nears

Staff Writer |
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.

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Tropical Storm Gordon never became a hurricane but it was deadly all the same, killing a child by blowing a tree onto a mobile home as it made landfall.

As of 7 a.m. ET Tuesday, the storm had maximum sustained winds of 65 miles per hour.

As Gordon slowly fizzles out, forecasters are turning their attention to Hurricane Florence, which is some 2,400 miles away from the USA, and another potential storm near the coast of Africa.

The last hurricane to strike the US was Nate, which came ashore in Biloxi, Mississippi, last October.

Coastal areas from the Florida Panhandle to Louisiana could experience 4-8 inches of rain, with isolated totals of 12 inches through late Thursday that could cause risky flash flooding and "life-threatening" storm surge, according to the hurricane center.

A hurricane watch is in effect for the area from the Mississippi-Louisiana border to the Alabama-Florida border.

Schools were closed and states of emergency were declared across the central Gulf Coast in preparation for the storm - though the biggest threat now centers on heavy rain and flash floods.

The Gulf of Mexico is home to 17 per cent of US crude oil and 5 per cent of natural gas output daily, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

There were no reports of any injuries or deaths or any damage to buildings, said Alberto Moscoso, a spokesman for the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

The Mississippi coast can expect 4 to 7 inches of rain, with locally higher amounts, it said.

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