Gordon weakens, Hurricane Florence gains strength on path toward Bermuda

Rain fall upon the Miami skyline this Labor Day weekend

Modal Trigger Rain falls on Miami over the Labor Day weekend. AP

As of 5 p.m., the storm had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph — with higher gusts — and was located about 95 miles south-southeast of Mobile, Ala., and about 90 miles southeast of Beloxi, Miss.

The tropical storm made landfall west of the Alabama-Mississippi border early on Wednesday.

The Escambia County Sheriff's office posted on its Facebook page late Tuesday that deputies responded to a call that a tree had fallen on a mobile home in Pensacola.

The weakened storm brings threats of heavy rain and flash flooding across the lower Mississippi Valley.

The bureau, which regulates offshore drilling, said 9.4 percent of oil production and 10.4 percent of natural gas output was halted by the storm's path through the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

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Coast Guard inspectors flew over ports in MS and Alabama to evaluate the facilities, which remained closed on Wednesday morning to most traffic, Petty Officer 3rd Class Alexandria Preston said.

In coastal Mississippi's Jackson County, people filled bags with sand at government distribution points Monday, intending to line their homes with them to avert flooding. Officials haven't released the child's identity.

Others did their familiar pre-storm preparation rituals, including the staff at The Hotel Whiskey in Pass Christian, Mississippi, only about a block from the coast.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Florence has flourished in the face of southwesterly wind shear and has become the first major hurricane of this year's season.

"They can change in the blink of an eye and we just noticed that this one happened to jog a little bit north, took us right out of the bullseye", he said.

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A storm surge warning was in effect for the coast between Shell Beach, Louisiana, and Dauphin Island, Alabama, with predicted heights of up to 3 to 5 feet if the peak surge coincides with high tide. Its maximum sustained winds are 105 miles per hour, and Florence was moving to the northwest at 13 miles per hour.

With winds weakening, the storm was downgraded to a tropical depression.

"Once we have confirmed that our systems are both safe and operational, we will begin the process of returning to normal operations", a spokeperson said on Wednesday.

U.S. oil producer Anadarko Petroleum Corp evacuated workers and shut production at two offshore platforms on Monday, and other companies with production and refining operations along the Gulf Coast said they were securing facilities.

People in New Orleans are bracing for Tropical Storm Gordon as the storm moves northwest after pounding the Gulf Coast region. "Sometimes it starts pushing not only water across but debris, logs and things of that nature, which makes it very treacherous to get across", said Jeff Collier, mayor of Dauphin Island, Alabama.

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