Tropical Storm Cindy continues to churn in the Gulf of Mexico, but effects from the storm are already being felt across the southern United States.
Many local and state agencies are organizing resources ahead of the storm, which could trigger life-threatening flooding, severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and rip currents.
Locally heavy rainfall has already begun across parts of the South and reports of flooding have come in from communities such as Gulfport, Mississippi, where over 7 inches has fallen since Tuesday morning.
State officials across the region are wasting little time to ensure the safety of the public as the storm makes its approach.
On Wednesday morning, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency for the entire state.
The Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) said it was staffed around the clock to help citizens who may need assistance.
“It is critically important for everyone to stay informed by your local media, as well as updates being made on social media,” Edwards said. “Fortunately, we have advance notice and that gives everyone time to put an emergency plans in place.
Officials said the Louisiana National Guard was bringing high water vehicles and helicopters into areas prone to flooding. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is moving 125,000 meals and 200,000 liters of water into the state.
GOHSEP Director Jim Waskom said some of the anticipated rainfall totals are some of the highest the state has recorded since severe flooding of August 2016.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) continues to monitor Cindy’s progress in the Gulf of Mexico and is urging residents to review their family emergency plans.
MEMA Executive Director Lee Smithson said while Mississippi is not expected to experience dangerous winds, residents will definitely see widespread and heavy rainfall.
“Intense flooding and possible storm surge are our main concerns, so we want the residents of south Mississippi to start planning ahead now to make sure that they are ready for what this system will bring,” Smithson said.
The agency had already begun distributing nearly 100,000 sandbags to all counties on Tuesday. High-water rescue teams and high-water vehicles from the state’s National Guard are on standby.
To ensure her state is prepared, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statewide state of emergency on Tuesday in advance of the severe weather and flood threat.
“This state of emergency will guarantee state resources are on standby and are ready to assist impacted communities if necessary,” Ivey said in a statement.
The state’s emergency management agency director, Art Faulkner, said residents need to be prepared for flash flooding.