Some coastal areas in Texas and Louisiana are under a tropical storm warning and forecasters are warning of potential heavy flooding as Tropical Storm Cindy moved inland from the Gulf of Mexico Thursday morning.
Severe weather and flooding have already been reported over the past two days along the Gulf Coast. The storm made landfall early Thursday morning near the Texas/Louisiana border, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The center predicts the storm will diminish to a tropical depression later Thursday as it heads north through Louisiana and then moves northeast through parts of several states including Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky.
The storm’s first fatality was reported Wednesday when a log that was carried in a wave hit and killed a 10-year-old boy on a beach in Fort Morgan, Ala., according to The Associated Press.
“Cindy is expected to produce rain accumulations of 3 to 6 inches with isolated maximum amounts up to 12 inches over eastern Texas, western and central Louisiana and southern and eastern Arkansas through Friday morning,” the National Hurricane Center said. The forecaster predicts more rainfall of 2 to 4 inches “with isolated maximum amounts of 8 inches” in certain parts of Mississippi, Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle.
“This rainfall could cause life-threatening flash flooding in these areas,” the center said.
The agency is predicting maximum sustained wind speeds of close to 40 mph and says “tropical-storm-force winds” will extend around the center of the storm by as many as 70 miles to the southeast and southwest of its center.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency Wednesday for the entire state. He asked residents to take the threat of the storm “seriously” and to “please do all you can to prepare for the worst while praying for the best.”
“No one should be under the belief that this is only going to affect coastal Louisiana or southeast Louisiana. This storm is going to affect the entire state,” he said.
Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama declared a state of emergency for that state on Tuesday.
Forecasters expected flooding of between 1 and 3 feet above ground level along the Gulf Coast in the area under the tropical storm warning, which stretched from High Island, Texas, to Morgan City, La., as of 5 a.m. ET Thursday. They also expected flooding of the same level “elsewhere along the coast from southeastern Louisiana to the western Florida Panhandle in areas of strong onshore winds.”
Oil and gas companies have evacuated workers from dozens of production platforms and at least one drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, NPR’s Debbie Elliott reports.
The National Hurricane Center also warned of the possibility of a few tornadoes Thursday “from the lower Mississippi and Tennessee Valley regions to the central Gulf Coast.”