The Latest: Heavy rains set in as Cindy nearing Gulf coast – Washington Post

NEW ORLEANS — The Latest on Tropical Storm Cindy (all times local):

5:40 p.m.

The U.S. Coast Guard reports high seas churned up by Tropical Storm Cindy complicated efforts to save a struggling shrimp trawler in the Gulf, but the vessel and its crew of four made it safely back to port in Texas.

A Coast Guard statement issued Wednesday says the 68-foot trawler Footprint was about 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of Galveston, Texas, when its crew radioed a distress message late Tuesday. The crew reported the vessel was taking on water faster than its onboard pumps could clear it.

A Coast Guard cutter, patrol plane and rescue helicopter were dispatched tp the scene early Wednesday. However, weather conditions kept the helicopter crew from lowering a rescue swimmer.

The helicopter crew, instead, lowered an extra pump that enabled the shrimp boat crew to clear the water and stay afloat. The Coast Guard cutter then escorted the vessel back to Freeport, Texas.

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4:30 p.m.

Severe weather whipped up Tropical Storm Cindy has damaged homes and vehicles in the Florida Panhandle.

Fort Walton Beach spokeswoman Jo Soria said Wednesday that falling trees have hit houses and cars in what she called “pockets of wind damage” in two or three residential neighborhoods. The locally popular Ferry Park had a number of trees down and a concrete-block baseball dugout was destroyed.

Okaloosa County Emergency Management spokesman Rob Brown said the National Weather Service told the county the storm was a supercell. He says it was likely a tornado, but forecasters won’t declare it as one until they have a ground survey team assess the area.

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3:55 p.m.

Forecasters say heavy rains are now lashing parts of the northern Gulf coast as Tropical Storm Cindy gets closer to expected landfall in coming hours.

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