Published: Wed, June 21, 2017
U.S. | By Eddie Scott

Tropical Storm Cindy expected to reach Gulf Coast tonight

Tropical Storm Cindy is churning slowly toward the Gulf Coast, where millions of residents are bracing for heavy rain and potential flash flooding. Little change in strength is expected today and slight weakening is forecast to begin on Thursday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 60 miles per hour with higher gusts.

A tropical storm warning was issued for part of Venezuela's east coast. A tropical storm warning that had extended from the Florida border west to Texas was scaled back, stretching from the mouth of the Mississippi River to just west of Galveston.

After the storm moves inland, rain will spread north-eastward across Arkansas and into portions of the Tennessee and Ohio Valley so that flooding concerns will continue through the weekend. This system is now forecast to develop into a tropical storm by Tuesday.

At the Escatawpa Hollow Campground in Alabama, near the Mississippi State line, owner Larry Godfrey was prepared for flooding that would add to the woes of a rainy spring.

The Louisiana National Guard has moved high water vehicles and helicopters into areas that could flood.

Current satellite imagery shows vigorous shower and thunderstorm activity in the eastern Gulf of Mexico in association with this system.

Cindy was projected to drop between 6 and 9 inches (15-23 cm) of rain that could reach up to 12 inches in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, and cause "life-threatening flash flooding", the NHC said.

Rainfall amounts of 3 to 5 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 6 inches can be expected farther west across western Louisiana and eastern Texas through Thursday.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency to "guarantee state resources are on standby and are ready to assist impacted communities if necessary".

Coastal Louisiana is under a tropical storm warning.

Dunn said the forecast of one to three inches of rain might be less if the storm's track shifts.

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).

Coastal Louisiana and Texas are under a tropical storm warning, and forecasters say the Alabama and MS coasts could get as much as 15 inches (38 centimeters) of rain by Thursday night. Bret was located about 185 miles (295 kilometers east-southeast of Curacao) late Tuesday morning.

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