Tropical Storm Cindy could create 3-foot storm surge near Gulf

Tropical Storm Cindy could create 3-foot storm surge near Gulf

Tropical Storm Cindy could create 3-foot storm surge near Gulf

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Tropical Storm Cindy formed Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico, hovering south of Louisiana as it churned tides and spun bands of heavy, potentially flooding rain onto the central and eastern Gulf Coast.

Cindy had weakened slightly, with top sustained winds dropping to 50 miles per hour (85 kph) from 60 miles per hour (95 kph) earlier, but heavy rain bands spinning off the storm remained the biggest threat to coastal residents across parts of five states.

Landfall along the upper Texas coast, or over western Louisiana, is possible Wednesday night or Thursday.

Overnight, Tropical Storm Bret dissipated in the southern Caribbean. The hurricane season got an early start with Tropical Storm Arlene in April.

Tropical Storm Cindy is creating the threat of tornadoes along the northern Gulf Coast. The area has seen winds gusts near 40 miles per hour and has recorded several inches of rain. Onshore flow happens when air moves from sea to land, usually with increased moisture. The declaration includes the entire state.

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"All arms of the state's emergency preparedness and response apparatus are taking Tropical Storm Cindy seriously, and we are calling on all Louisianans throughout the state to do so as well", Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement early Wednesday. "Prepare for the worst while hope and pray for the best".

A tropical storm warning has been discontinued north and east of the mouth of the Mississippi River, including in Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain and the metropolitan New Orleans area. A flood watch and tornado watch are still in effect.

Some summer school programs were also canceled Wednesday in New Orleans and Donaldsonville.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency Tuesday because of the threat of torrential risky high tides and rip currents.

"There's been a lot of rain in the area over the last three to four weeks so the ground is pretty saturated", said Glen Brannan of Alabama's Mobile County Emergency Management Agency.

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People along the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida are coping with severe weather associated with Tropical Storm Cindy. The storm is expected to strengthen and consolidate slightly before it reaches the Louisiana coast late Wednesday.

In Mississippi, the city of Biloxi declared a state of emergency because of risk of flooding. MEMA is coordinating with all counties for possible need, and have distributed near 100,000 sandbags to the counties, and are prepared to send more if requested.

"It's kind of like a slow-motion disaster for us now". Harrison County Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy said there were no injuries but fences, trees and power lines were damaged.

In Texas, elderly residents and families with medical issues living in Bolivar Peninsula near Galveston were encouraged to evacuate their homes.

The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, the largest privately owned crude storage terminal in the United States, suspended vessel offloading operations ahead of the storm but said Tuesday it expected no interruptions to deliveries from its hub in Clovelly, Louisiana.

Locally, we'll continue to see dreary conditions, with occasional heavier showers, on the far-eastern side of Tropical Storm Cindy through Wednesday afternoon.

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