Rain was still falling but the lights were on Wednesday morning at a Waffle House restaurant in Mobile, where factory worker Jerome Richardson said he lost power at 9 p.m. as the storm passed overhead. He was still without electricity as he left for his 12-hour shift.

“I just hope I don’t have to throw out everything in my refrigerator when I get home,” he said.

The last hurricane to strike the U.S. was Nate last October, coming ashore in Biloxi with 75 mph (120 kph) winds.

Governors in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana all declared states of emergency to better mobilize state resources and National Guard troops for the storm. Mississippi shut down a dozen Gulf Coast casinos. Workers on at least 54 oil and gas production platforms were evacuated. Communities along the coast provided sand and bags, and many hustled to protect their properties ahead of the storm.

Gordon was not the only storm being watched by forecasters. Hurricane Florence was some 2,400 miles (3,900 kilometers) away from the U.S., and lining up behind it, another potential storm was likely to form not far off the coast of Africa.

It’s way too early to know if either of those storms will have any impact on land, but Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said attention should be paid: “It’s the peak of hurricane season. Now is the time to get your plans all set,” he said.

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Associated Press contributors include Stacey Plaisance in Gulfport, Miss; Kevin McGill in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi; Jeff Martin and Ben Nadler in Atlanta; Emily Wagster Pettus and Jeff Amy in Jackson, Mississippi; Kim Chandler in Montgomery, Alabama; Rebecca Santana in New Orleans; Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina.