The Latest: Cindy threatens heavy rains en route to coast – Miami Herald
The Latest on Tropical Storm Cindy (all times local):
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.