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Tropical Storm Cindy Could Bring Life-Threatening Flash Floods

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott puts government response on standby

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    Tropical Storm Cindy is inching closer to the Gulf Coast with dangerous winds and heavy rainfall. (Published Wednesday, June 21, 2017)

    3:55 p.m. Wednesday

    Forecasters say heavy rains are now lashing parts of the northern Gulf coast as Tropical Storm Cindy gets closer to expected landfall in coming hours.

    The National Hurricane Center says it expects little change in strength before Cindy reaches the coast late Wednesday, somewhere along the Texas-Louisiana line.

    By Wednesday afternoon, the center of the storm was about 125 miles (200 kilometers) southeast of Galveston, Texas, and roughly the same distance south of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Top wind speeds have remained at about 50 mph (85 kph) in recent hours as the storm churns toward land at about 9 mph (kph).

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    Forecasters say heavy rains from Cindy could cause life-threatening flash floods. The forecast generally calls for 6-9 inches (150-230 millimeters) of rain with up to 15 inches (380 millimeters) in some isolated spots. The Miami-based center also warns a few tornadoes are possible overnight from the Florida Panhandle into south Louisiana.

    1:10 p.m. Wednesday

    A sheriff's captain says a 10-year-old Missouri boy has died on the Alabama coast after being fatally struck by a log washed in by storm surge from Tropical Storm Cindy.

    Baldwin County Sheriff's Capt. Stephen Arthur says the boy was hit by the debris Wednesday morning in the Fort Morgan area. Stephen said witnesses reported the boy was standing outside his family's condominium when he was struck by the log washed in by a large wave.

    Arthur said the child was vacationing with his family. He says relatives and emergency workers were unable to resuscitate the boy.

    The boy's name wasn't immediately released.

    1 p.m. Wednesday

    The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Cindy is heading toward the northern Gulf coast, where it is expected to make landfall in the coming hours.

    The center said in an update at 1 p.m. CDT Wednesday that the storm was centered about 170 miles (270 kilometers) southwest of Morgan City, Louisiana -- or roughly the same distance southeast of Galveston, Texas. Its sustained winds continue to top out at 50 mph (85 kph) and it's moving closer to the coast at a rate of 9 mph (14 kph).

    Forecasters say the storm is nearing the coast along a stretch between southeast Texas and southwestern Louisiana. They add that little change in strength is expected before landfall but that it will weekend once it moves inland on Thursday.

    Heavy rains associated with the storm are raising the possibility of life-threatening flash floods over a wide area of the coast.

    10:40 a.m. Wednesday

    Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Cindy are causing flooding in low-lying areas along the Alabama coast.

    Some roads are covered with water in the seafood village of Bayou La Batre, and police say streets are flooded on the barrier island of Dauphin Island. Officials there have closed the beaches because of dangerously rough surf.

    Double red flags are flying in Gulf Shores to warn people to stay out of the waves. But live video feeds Wednesday showed a few people still on the beach despite rain showers and high winds.

    Becca Caldemeyer says business is slow at her bait shop in Bayou La Batre because it's too windy to fish. She says sea water is washing into marshes, but she can still get to and from work since the roads aren't completely covered with water.

    10 a.m. Wednesday

    Rain has slackened along Mississippi's Gulf Coast after an overnight drenching, but not before a waterspout came ashore in Biloxi, causing minor damage.

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    Harrison County Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy says the waterspout made landfall around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, causing damage to fences, trees and power lines. No one was hurt. One large live oak branch was downed on the grounds of Beauvoir, the historic home that once belonged to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

    The Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport has reported more than 7 inches (180 mms) of rain since Tuesday morning.

    Mississippi officials reported standing water on hundreds of roads after heavy rains, but Lacy says some flash flooding is receding for now, and no buildings have yet been reported as flooding. Coastal rivers are expected to leap their banks, though, as water runs off.

    8:45 a.m. Wednesday

    Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency ahead of Tropical Storm Cindy's landfall.

    The governor's spokesman Richard Carbo said Edwards signed the statewide declaration Wednesday morning.

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    The storm is moving closer to the Gulf Coast, where it threatens to bring a storm surge of up to 3 feet (0.91 meters).

    Wednesday morning, the storm was centered about 165 miles (265 kilometers) south-southwest of Morgan City, Louisiana, and is moving northwest near 8 mph (13 kph).

    The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Cindy is expected to approach the coast of southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas late Wednesday or Wednesday night and move inland Thursday.

    7 a.m. Wednesday

    Tropical Storm Cindy is moving closer to the Gulf Coast, where it threatens to bring a storm surge of up to 3 feet (0.91 meters).

    As of 7 a.m. CDT Wednesday, the storm was centered about 165 miles (265 kilometers) south-southwest of Morgan City, Louisiana, and is moving northwest near 8 mph (13 kph). The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Cindy is expected to approach the coast of southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas late Wednesday or Wednesday night and move inland Thursday.

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    The storm's maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph (96 kph).

    The National Weather Service said early Wednesday that flash flood watches covered parts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

    Forecasters in Louisiana say Tropical Storm Cindy will bring the potential for a storm surge of up to 3 feet (0.91 meters) along the Gulf Coast.

    The National Weather Service said early Wednesday that flash flood watches covered parts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia as the storm trudged closer to the U.S. mainland.

    The weather service has warned that the storm brings the threat of "life-threatening flash flooding."

    Rain bands began pushing ashore Tuesday even before the system reached tropical storm strength. It was stationary much of the day Tuesday but was on a lumbering track that would take its center toward southwestern Louisiana and eastern Texas by Wednesday morning.

    Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

    But the heavy rains were on its east side, meaning the major rain threat stretched from southeastern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.

    4:20 a.m. Wednesday

    Residents and officials along a stretch of the Gulf Coast from the Florida panhandle to eastern Texas are keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Cindy.

    The storm formed Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico. It's expected to move slowly toward the Louisiana-Texas line. But the heaviest rain bands were to the east. And the National Weather Service says it poses a threat of dangerous flash flooding.

    Forecasters say some areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida could see a foot of rain.

    Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency Tuesday because of the threat of torrential dangerous high tides and rip currents. Other state and local officials along the coast were mulling similar declarations.

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    10 p.m. Tuesday

    The National Weather Service has extended the tropical storm warning on the Gulf Coast eastward to the Alabama-Florida border.

    Forecasters Tuesday night increased the warning ahead of Tropical Storm Cindy to include Lake Pontchartrain and the New Orleans metro area.

    The storm was about 230 miles (370 kilometers) south of Morgan City, Louisiana, with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (97 kph). It was moving northwest at 7 mph (11 kph) and forecast to continue along that track before turning to the north Wednesday night.

    Not much change in strength is expected Wednesday, with slight weakening beginning Thursday.

    8:45 p.m. Tuesday

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    The National Weather Service says Tropical Storm Cindy is centered about 350 miles (563.24 kilometers) southeast of Galveston, Texas. Maximum sustained winds were clocked Tuesday evening at 45 mph (75 kph) and the storm has been nearly stationary in recent hours. A tropical storm warning has been issued for the Gulf Coast from San Luis Pass, at the western end of Galveston Island, to the mouth of the Pearl River, where the Louisiana-Mississippi border meets the Gulf of Mexico.

    Forecasts say the storm could produce overall rainfall of 6-9 inches (15-23 cms) with isolated amounts of up to 12 inches (30 cms) in spots in southeastern Louisiana and southern parts of Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle through Thursday.

    A tropical storm warning was expanded to a wider area Tuesday afternoon, now extending from San Luis Pass, Texas, to the mouth of the Pearl River on the Mississippi-Louisiana line.

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    8:30 p.m. Tuesday

    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered the State Operations Center to raise its readiness level as Tropical Storm Cindy approached the Gulf Coast.

    The center's readiness would be raised from level four/normal conditions to level three/increased readiness as of noon Wednesday. Also, Abbott has activated four Texas Task Force 1 boat squads and two Texas Military Department vehicles squads of five vehicles each to respond to any weather-related emergencies.

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    Abbott also put on standby the Emergency Medical Task Force of the Department of State health Services, as well as Texas Military Forces aircraft and shelter and feeding teams.

    A voluntary evacuation notice has been issued for those with medical and other special needs on the Bolivar Peninsula, between Galveston and High Island, Texas. The National Weather Service advises that services may be limited for those on the peninsula around high tide from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning.

    4:30 p.m. Tuesday

    Tropical Storm Cindy is meandering over the central Gulf of Mexico, and forecasters warn that it's dumping heavy rains that could trigger life-threatening flash floods.

    The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Cindy was located at 4 p.m. CDT Tuesday about 280 miles (450 kilometers) south of Morgan City, Louisiana -- or about 360 miles (575 kilometers) southeast of Galveston, Texas.

    Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 45 mph (75 kph) and the storm has been nearly stationary in recent hours.

    Forecasts say the storm could produce overall rainfall of 6-9 inches (15-23 cms) with isolated amounts of up to 12 inches (30 cms) in spots in southeastern Louisiana and southern parts of Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle through Thursday.

    A tropical storm warning was expanded to a wider area Tuesday afternoon, now extending from San Luis Pass, Texas to the mouth of the Pearl River on the Mississippi-Louisiana line.

    3 p.m. Tuesday

    Louisiana's emergency preparedness office said it is coordinating with local officials and readying resources in advance of Tropical Storm Cindy's threat of heavy rain and flash flooding.

    Gov. John Bel Edwards said the advance notice of the storm gives officials time to put emergency plans in place.

    Louisiana was slammed with major flooding last summer from an unnamed storm that heavily damaged the Baton Rouge and Lafayette regions.

    Cindy formed Tuesday from a system that had been developing in the Gulf.

    The Louisiana National Guard has moved high water vehicles and helicopters into areas that could flood. The state said FEMA is moving 125,000 meals and 200,000 liters of water into Louisiana.

    Edwards is encouraging Louisiana residents to monitor local media and check GetAGamePlan.org to ready for the storm.

    1:30 p.m. Tuesday

    Some Gulf Coast residents are bracing for heavy rain and possible flooding from Tropical Storm Cindy.

    Larry Godfrey, who owns the Escatawpa Hollow Campground in Alabama, near the state line with Mississippi, said the Escatawpa River is already high from rainfall, and he expects his campground will flood.

    National Weather Service forecasters are warning of the possibility of more than 10 inches of rain for an area between Biloxi, Mississippi and Mobile, Alabama, by Friday morning.

    City and county governments on Mississippi's coast are handing out sandbags. Jackson County Emergency Management Coordinator Donald Langham said rainfall-induced flooding appears to be the main danger from Cindy.

    Godfrey and his wife live in a house on stilts, but he says water could get under his house. He says he will shut off power to campsites and tie up picnic tables.

    12:35 p.m. Tuesday

    Tropical Storm Cindy has formed in the Gulf of Mexico and is threatening to spread heavy rain across a wide area of the central Gulf coast.

    The National Weather Service in Miami said the storm is centered about 265 miles (430 kilometers) south of Morgan City, Louisiana -- or about 355 miles (565 kilometers) southeast of Galveston, Texas.

    Cindy has top sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph) and the storm is presently stationary in the Gulf. It says Cindy acquired a well-defined center on Tuesday afternoon, becoming the third tropical storm of 2017.

    The center said Cindy is expected to reach the Louisiana coast sometime late Wednesday and then move inland over western Louisiana and eastern Texas on Thursday.

    Forecasters say rain totaling 6 to 9 inches in areas and up to 12 inches in some spots pose a threat to southern portions of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle through Thursday.

    10:15 a.m. Tuesday

    Coastal residents are feeling the effects of a severe storm system that's churning in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Police say flooding already is being reported on Dauphin Island south of Mobile, Alabama. The main road leading to the island's narrow western end is partially covered with water, and the city is moving vehicles and equipment to higher ground.

    Red flags are flying on the main public beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a warning for people to stay out of the water. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency Tuesday morning because of the flooding threat.

    Bands of heavy rain are coming through as far east as the Florida Panhandle.

    Coastal Louisiana and Texas are under a tropical storm warning, and forecasters say the Alabama and Mississippi coasts could get as much as 15 inches (38 centimeters) of rain by Thursday night.

    10 a.m. Tuesday

    Forecasters say a tropical storm warning is in effect from High Island on the upper Texas coast all the way to the mouth of the Pearl River at the state line of Louisiana and Mississippi. A tropical storm watch is in effect elsewhere on the Texas coast from west of High Island to San Luis Pass.

    Forecasters say a tropical storm warning has been extended further westward for a disturbance in the central Gulf and it now covers an area from High Island, Texas, to the mouth of the Pearl River between Louisiana and Mississippi.

    High Island is located along the Bolivar Peninsula between Galveston and Port Arthur.

    The National Weather Service said the biggest threat from the disturbance is the likely heavy rainfall over wide areas of the northern rim of the Gulf of Mexico.

    At 10 a.m., the center said disturbance No. 3 was centered about 265 miles (430 kilometer) south of Morgan City, Louisiana -- or about 355 miles (565 kilometers southeast of Galveston, Texas.  It's maximum sustained winds are at 40 mph (65 kph) and the storm is moving toward the northwest at 10 mph (17 kph).

    The tropical storm warning means tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere in the warning area in the next 24 to 36 hours.

    A tropical storm watch is also in effect on the upper Texas coast from west of High Island to San Luis Pass.

    8:25 a.m. Tuesday

    Forecasters said earlier in the morning Tuesday the Alabama and Mississippi coasts could be inundated with as much as 15 inches (38 centimeters) of rain from the tropical storm.

    The heaviest rains are expected in an area that includes the port city of Mobile, Alabama, and the cities of Pascagoula and Biloxi in Mississippi. The forecast shows an even wider area from southeastern Louisiana into the western Florida Panhandle could receive as much as 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain over three days.

    The National Weather Service issued an expanded flash flood watch for the area Tuesday, and forecasters say the flooding threat will continue through Thursday night.

    Coastal Louisiana is under a tropical storm warning. The National Hurricane Center says the storm is expected to move inshore early Thursday near the Louisiana-Texas line before weakening and moving northeastward in a sweeping arc.

    Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Bret is moving along South America's northern coast. Its maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph (64 kph) with weakening expected to begin later in the day.