DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. – Tropical Storm Gordon slammed into the eastern Gulf Coast on Wednesday, flooding roads and causing minor damage to some homes, but the storm missed Louisiana and most of the Mississippi coast almost entirely, and never became a hurricane.
The storm is blamed for one death in Florida. A toddler in Pensacola was killed when a large tree branch fell onto a mobile home.
Dauphin Island, off the coast of Alabama, took a direct hit. The Walton family hunkered down inside their beach house.
“When the wind shipped around from the south east, it started hammering our doors and pressing the doors in a little bit so it was a little freaky,” Lee Walton said.
“Yeah, it was ferocious, and the rain was torrential, just driving sideways,” Jane Walton said.
Wind gusts of more than 70 mph were recorded on the island. The National Hurricane Center initially predicted Gordon would become a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of more than 74 mph.
Drone video from the western side of Dauphin Island, a town of just over 1,000 people, showed some damaged rooftops, flooded roads and sand covering some streets.
In Gulfport, Mississippi, many home and business owners spent the day sandbagging and otherwise preparing for the worst case scenario.
“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.
“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.
Louisiana and Mississippi’s governors declared states of emergency ahead of the storm. Harrison County, Mississippi enforced a curfew from 7 p.m. Tuesday to 7 a.m. Wednesday.
Gordon is expected to pound several states with rain for several more days as it moves north.