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While the system is expected to bring hurricane winds and rain to the Gulf Coast, the fast 17 miles per hour pace at which the storm was moving gave it less time to strengthen over waters before it is expected to hit land. Up to 8 inches of rain was expected to have covered parts of south Florida by Tuesday, with 1 to 2 inches projected around Tampa Bay, according to Norman, the National Weather Service meteorologist.

Weather forecasters believe Tropical Storm Gordon will strengthen to a hurricane late Tuesday right as it hits the central US Gulf Coast.

A hurricane warning is in effect along the MS and Alabama coast, where the storm is expected to make landfall Tuesday night or early Wednesday. The storm was expected to reach coastal Mississippi and Louisiana by late Tuesday and move inland over the lower Mississippi Valley on Wednesday.

Many areas in Houston saw upwards of 30 inches of rain.

National Hurricane Center forecasters peg Gordon as a 65-mph storm moving west-northwest at 65 miles per hour, according to the 5 a.m. Tuesday update.

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. The tropical storm continues to approach the Gulf Coast. It drenched Florida on Labor Day, forcing officials in Miami and the Florida Panhandle to close beaches due to rough surf and potential rip currents. The storm surge threat is significant.

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The storm's predicted track had shifted slightly east as of Monday evening, meaning Louisiana is now just outside the area under the hurricane warning.

"It was fine, just like a thunderstorm", said Pascagoula resident Trey Casey, who had been given the day off from work in anticipation of more serious damage.

Gordon is forecast to strengthen into a minimal Category 1 hurricane just before landfall, the National Hurricane Center said Monday. The area has already been heavily impacted by this summer's so-called "red tide"- massive algae blooms that have caused waves of dead marine life to wash up along the coast.

Mayors of barrier islands in the storm's path warned that their communities might get cut off from the mainland.

The Florida Public Radio Emergency Network will continue to monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Gordon and provide updates in this story, via our Facebook and Twitter accounts, or in the mobile app Florida Storms.

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Pneumonia-like symptoms show up 2 to 10 days after exposure, but state officials recommend that people stay vigilant for 14 days. Two years ago, health departments reported about 6,100 cases of Legionnaires' disease in the United States, the CDC said.