As it crosses the Gulf Tuesday, forecasters say the storm will encounter some upper level wind shear, the hurricane-smothering atmospheric winds that up to now have helped keep the season in check.
Coastal areas in the western Florida Panhandle are already feeling the storms effects, as outer rain bands are producing heavy rain and squalls as it continues to advance northwest.
At 5 a.m. ET, Gordon's top sustained winds had accelerated to 65 miles per hour.
The Mississippi Gaming Commission moved Wednesday to allow Coast casinos to reopen at 8 a.m. today after being temporarily closed Tuesday afternoon.
The last hurricane to strike the USA was Nate last October, coming ashore in Biloxi with 120 km/h winds. Heavy rain and inland flooding are also major concerns in Mississippi, Louisiana and parts of Alabama and Arkansas as the storm moves north over the next couple days.
U.S. oil producer Anadarko Petroleum Corp. evacuated workers and shut production at two offshore oil platforms Monday, and other companies with production and refining operations along the Gulf Coast said they were securing facilities.
Oil and gas companies in the Gulf of Mexico also evacuated more than 50 platforms as the storm swept in, temporarily halting production. In Mississippi, Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency as well, and said state resources are being mobilized.More news: Razer Phone 2 confirmed: Razer quietly announces upgraded Razer Phone plans
Gordon is the first tropical storm or hurricane to reach the United States Coast.
All tropical storm warnings were canceled for South Florida and the Florida Keys as Gordon moved away, but not until after it had battered the region with heavy rain and winds.
Grand Isle Mayor David Campardelle called for a voluntary evacuation of the barrier island.
"The more you can mix the water up and dilute that bloom water with water that does not have red tide cells in it, the better chance there is of dispersing and diluting the bloom", he said. Dauphin Island, Alabama measured a sustained wind of 57mph with a gust to 72mph.
"This storm has every possibility to track further in our direction", Edwards said during a news conference Monday evening.
Gordon wasn't the only storm being watched by forecasters.
"We had one thunder boom, no rain and a little bit of wind, woke up this morning and everything was fine", said Jason Lombardo, a business owner who has lived through several hurricanes.