NEW ORLEANS – The Latest on Tropical Storm Cindy (all times local):
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.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards is urging his state's residents to take Tropical Storm Cindy seriously.
As of midday Wednesday, there were no reports of serious home or business flooding in Louisiana. But, at a news conference, Edwards noted that two unnamed storms slammed Louisiana last year with heavy flood devastation.
Strong rain bands from Cindy continued to sweep across the Gulf Coast. And authorities said dangers from flash floods, severe storms and possible tornadoes remained a danger. Edwards declared a state of emergency early Wednesday. And Plaquemines Parish on the southeast Louisiana coast declared an emergency at midday.
Cindy was expected to make landfall near the Louisiana-Texas state line Thursday.
Tropical Storm Cindy is pumping seawater into an area of the Mississippi-Louisiana coast that's vulnerable to storm tide flooding.
Tides on Wednesday morning were 4 feet (1.2 meters) above normal in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi and 5 feet (1.5 meters) above normal farther southwest, at Shell Beach, on Louisiana's coast.
Bay St. Louis is in Hancock County, where Emergency Management Director Brian Adam says officials counted 355 roads with standing water early Wednesday. The low-lying southern half of the county is interlaced with inlets, bayous, rivers and canals. The county faces frequent tidal flooding. Adam says it happens five to 10 times a year.
Adam says he's received no reports of flooded homes. Many homes in the county are elevated on stilts.
Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Cindy have caused flooding in low-lying areas along the Alabama coast.
Some roads were covered with water in the seafood village of Bayou La Batre, but Becca Caldemeyer still managed to get to her bait shop at the city dock. If only there were more customers, she said.
"It's pretty quiet," Caldemeyer said in a telephone interview from Rough Water Bait and Tackle. "Nobody can cast a shrimp out in this kind of wind."
Police said streets were flooded on the barrier island of Dauphin Island, and the city closed beaches because of dangerously rough surf. Double red flags flew in Gulf Shores to warn people to stay out of the waves, yet live video feeds showed a few people still on the beach despite rain showers and high winds.
Baldwin and Mobile counties canceled summer classes because of the storm. Heavy rains fell as far north as central Alabama, and forecasters said the area could receive as much as 5 inches (120 millimeters) of rain.
Rain has slackened along Mississippi's Gulf Coast after an overnight drenching, but not before a waterspout came ashore in Biloxi, causing minor damage.
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.
Forecasters say a slightly weakened Tropical Storm Cindy is threatening heavy rains and life-threatening flash flooding over a wide area of the northern Gulf Coast.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Cindy was located at 10 a.m. CDT Wednesday about 170 miles (270 kilometers) south-southwest of Morgan City, Louisiana — or about 180 miles (285 kilometers) southeast of Galveston, Texas. The storm has top sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph) and is moving toward the northwest at 10 mph (17 kph).
Forecasters say a tropical storm warning has been discontinued for the greater New Orleans area and other areas north and east of the mouth of the Mississippi River. But the tropical storm warning remains in effect from the mouth of the Mississippi to San Luis Pass, Texas. Forecasters say the storm is expected to reach the coast of southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas later Wednesday before moving inland.
Heavy rains are expected in southeast Texas, Louisiana, and southern areas of Mississippi, Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle through Thursday.
John Rickmon, a real estate broker in Pensacola, Florida, said he has been touring properties in the Panhandle area to see if they've been affected by rains from the tropical storm in the Gulf. He says some streets had water bubbling up from manhole covers.
"There's nowhere for the water to go, so we're seeing lots of ponding and lots of retention ponds that are right on the tipping point," d Rickmon said. "We were saturated before this even started ... I'm a bit concerned about what the next 24 hours will bring."
Rickmon said he keeps a rain gauge at his house and it had already registered 8.5 inches (22 centimeters) before the most intense rains began.
Nearby, the National Park Service reported the bridge between Navarre Beach and Pensacola Beach was closed because of flooding.
Elsewhere in the Florida Panhandle, an emergency official reported downed trees and other damage — but no injuries — from severe weather caused by a passing storm cell. Okaloosa County Emergency Management spokesman Rob Brown said the damage was reported at several points in and around Fort Walton Beach in the county — but none of it was major structural damage.
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.
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.
Much of Florida's Panhandle remains under a tornado watch as Tropical Storm Cindy looms in the Gulf of Mexico.
Officials in Santa Rosa County, which is just east of Pensacola, tweeted that some roads were under water early Wednesday. They urged motorists to use caution if they are driving in the southern end of the county.
News outlets also reported several roads in neighboring Escambia County have been closed due to flooding.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for much of the region until 10 a.m. Wednesday. Forecasters say the area can expect heavy rain through Thursday as the tropical storm moves through Louisiana and Texas.
Tropical Storm Cindy is creating the threat of tornadoes along the northern Gulf Coast.
The National Weather Service says flash flooding from torrential rain is the main problem associated with the storm, but twisters are also possible.
Forecasters issued tornado warnings for the areas around Fort Walton Beach and Indian Pass in Florida after radar indicated possible tornadoes Wednesday morning.
A tornado watch covered the entire coast from southwestern Louisiana to near the Big Bend region of Florida.
Alabama's main beaches are mostly empty as Cindy blows offshore, and Baldwin and Mobile counties canceled summer classes because of the storm.
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.
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.
But the heavy rains were on its east side, meaning the major rain threat stretched from southeastern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.
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.