MIAMI (AP) - A hurricane warning has been issued for portions of the central U.S. Gulf Coast as Tropical Storm Gordon approaches.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said it expects Gordon to be a hurricane when it reaches coastal Mississippi and Louisiana sometime late Tuesday.
A hurricane warning is in effect for the area stretching from the mouth of the Pearl River in Mississippi to the Alabama-Florida border.
The storm is centered about 350 miles (530 km) east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, and moving west-northwest at 17 mph (28 kph). After making landfall, it is expected to move inland over the lower Mississippi Valley on Wednesday. Officials say maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph (95 kph) with higher gusts.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell says the city has "the pumps and the power" needed to protect residents from Tropical Storm Gordon.
However authorities issued a voluntary evacuation order for residents outside the levee protection system, including the Venetian Isles, Lake Saint Catherine and Irish Bayou areas.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm is expected to move away from the southwestern Florida coast and reach coastal Mississippi and Louisiana by late Tuesday.
At a press conference Monday afternoon, Cantrell urged residents within the levee protection area to stock up on supplies and shelter in place.
New Orleans director of emergency preparedness Collin Arnold says the storm has the potential to turn into a "low-level hurricane" with potential winds of up to 70 mph (113 kph).
The Louisiana coastal town of Grand Isle has also issued a voluntary evacuation order.