Storm Gordon is now battering South Florida with powerful gusts and heavy rain and it is expected to reach hurricane strength before making landfall just east of Louisiana.
Tropical Storm warnings are also in effect for the coasts of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.
Tropical Storm Gordon is continuing its push toward the northern Gulf Coast.
Tropical storm warnings extend to the west to around New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain and to the east over the western Florida panhandle.
This is good, because the less amount of time it spends over the open Gulf, the less time it has to strengthen in a low shear environment and over the very warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
In New Orleans, a voluntary evacuation order is in effect for people who live in neighborhoods that are not protected by levees.
"Rapid weakening is expected after Gordon moves inland, " the hurricane center said. Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 50 miles per hour.
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Storm surges from 3 to 5 feet are expected from Shell Beach to the Mississippi-Alabama border, and from 2 to 4 feet from Navarre, Fla., to the Mississippi-Alabama border, and from Shell Beach to the mouth of Mississippi River.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from the Okaloosa-Walton County Line and stretches from Golden Beach to Bonita Beach and from Craig Key to Ocean Reef, including Florida Bay.
Sustained winds of tropical-storm-force are likely in the zone under a hurricane warning, with the possibility of hurricane-force gusts, over 74 miles per hour.
Miami Beach Police said via Twitter that the Labor Day holiday was "NOT a beach day", with rough surf and potential rip currents.
A hurricane watch has been issued for portions of the central U.S. Gulf Coast as Tropical Storm Gordon approaches.
Tropical showers and thunderstorms can be expected across the region starting Monday through much of Wednesday, the weather service says.
"The main source of uncertainty in the track forecast is exactly when and to what extent Florence will make this turn", NHC hurricane specialist David Zelinsky in his forecast. This is a fast moving storm, which means that the impacts will be slightly less than if it was a system that moved slowly bringing constant high winds and storm surge to the coast. It is near the Cape Verde Islands, more than 3,500 miles from South Florida, and is being given a 70 percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone during the next five days, forecasters said.