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Child dies as Tropical Storm Gordon strikes southern US states

The storm has now weakened into a depression after dumping heavy rains on Alabama, Florida and other states.

A child has died in Florida after a tropical storm blew a tree onto a mobile home in as it made landfall in America.

The storm later weakened into a depression, dumping heavy rains across southern US states.

The National Hurricane Centre said Tropical Storm Gordon was weakening on a path into Arkansas after striking the coast at 70mph, just shy of hurricane strength, near Pascagoula, Mississippi.

The remnants will likely cause flash flooding across parts of seven states and as far north as Iowa in the coming days.

Forecasters said radar spotted possible tornadoes spun off by the storm overnight in southern Alabama and the Florida panhandle, and more are possible on Wednesday night in Mississippi and western Alabama.

Driftwood and other debris on the causeway made for hazardous driving to Dauphin Island, Alabama, which was partly flooded by seawater overnight, leaving people to drive over sand and around lawn furniture on the main road in the wake of the storm.

Just before 9:00 p.m. ECSO Deputies responded to the 4000-block of West Bobe Street after receiving a call that a tree...

Posted by Escambia County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, September 4, 2018

There was some structural damage to properties but mayor Jeff Collier said: “For the most part, we did OK.”

Forecasters predicted rain of 4-8 inches in the Florida panhandle and parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa and Illinois. Rainfall could be even more intense in isolated places, with up to 12in expected by early on Saturday.

A storm surge covered barrier islands as the storm blew through, and some inland roadways were flooded as well.

The National Weather Service in Mobile cautioned that the Styx River near Elsanor, Alabama, could reach moderate, and possibly major, flood stage later.

But the storm’s impact could have been worse: Gordon gave only a glancing blow to New Orleans, where Mayor LaToya Cantrell said the city now has “the pumps and the power” needed to protect residents inside the levee protection system.

There were no immediate injury or significant damage reports, other than the tree that fell on the mobile home in Pensacola, Florida.

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Trucks with the Alabama Department of Transportation work to block off a flooded part of US Highway 98 (AP)

The Escambia County Sheriff’s office posted on its Facebook page that responding deputies discovered that a child had been killed.

More than 27,000 customers were without power as Gordon began pushing ashore, mostly in coastal Alabama and the western tip of the Florida Panhandle around Pensacola, with a few hundred in south-eastern Mississippi.

The last hurricane to strike the US was Nate last October, coming ashore in Biloxi with 75mph winds.

Governors in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana all declared states of emergency to better mobilise state resources and National Guard troops for the storm.

Mississippi shut down a dozen Gulf Coast casinos, while workers on at least 54 oil and gas production platforms were evacuated.

Communities along the coast provided sand and bags, and many worked hard to protect their properties ahead of the storm.

Gordon is not the only dangerous weather being closely watched by forecasters. Hurricane Florence is some 2,400 miles away from the US, and lining up behind it, another potential storm is likely to form off the coast of Africa.

Although it is too early to know if either of those storms will have any impact on land, Hurricane Centre director Ken Graham said it warrants close attention: “It’s the peak of hurricane season. Now is the time to get your plans all set.”

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