A State of Emergency has been declared in both Mississippi and Louisiana ahead of Tropical Storm Gordon.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said 200 National Guard troops will be deployed to southeastern Louisiana, along with 63 high-water trucks, 39 boats, and 4 helicopters.
Tropical Storm Gordon is continuing to strengthen into a hurricane, coming ashore late on Tuesday near the border between Louisiana and Mississippi.
According to the National Hurricane Center, as of 5 a.m. Tuesday the storm was located about 230 miles east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River.
A hurricane warning remains in effect for the area from the Pearl River in Mississippi to the Alabama-Florida border.
The storm, which at 5 a.m. Tuesday had sustained winds of 65 mph, is expected to bring “life-threatening” storm surges, which could raise waters up to 5 feet in some areas.
In New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued a voluntary evacuation notice for areas outside of the New Orleans levee system.
Cantrell said the city expects to see impact of the storm beginning late Tuesday and continuing through Wednesday. City Hall and government offices will close Tuesday for nonessential employees.
In anticipation of heavy rains, the Flood Protection Authority-East (FPA) has closed 21 floodgates on the Lake Borgne Surge Barrier near New Orleans, according to a press release.
These gates are all in Orleans and St. Bernard parishes, primarily along the Industrial Canal and susceptible to high-tide conditions if not closed, the city says.
As of Monday night, the FPA did not anticipate that the three pump stations at Lake Pontchartrain would be activated, but it is prepared to do so if the forecast changes and water levels reach key thresholds, according to the press release.
A number of schools across Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi will not open Tuesday and others announced they would close early ahead of the storm's arrival.
About 300 vessels in Biloxi's harbors have been ordered to evacuate by 2 p.m. Tuesday due to the risk from storm surge there.
"We're asking people to do the same things that we're doing: prepare," said Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich in a statement. "There's no reason to be alarmed. We're being told to expect rain and wind, and we're preparing accordingly. We expect our citizens to be doing the same."
Florida Gov. Rick Scott tweeted that Floridians and visitors should monitor the weather system and remain vigilant.
"Right now, according to @NHC_Atlantic, the biggest impact to our state will be heavy rain, but in Florida, we know how quickly weather can change," he said.
"With the peak of hurricane season upon us, now is the time to get prepared. Make sure that you and your family have a plan in place in case of disaster."