Tropical Storm Cindy Tracking Through Gulf of Mexico; Life-Threatening Flash Flooding Possible Along Gulf Coast

 eather.com  6/22/2017 12:57:26 AM  2
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Tropical Storm Cindy is centered over the northwest Gulf of Mexico.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for parts of the Texas and Louisiana coastlines.

Cindy is expected to move inland over southeast Texas or southwest Louisiana early Thursday morning.

Life-threatening flash flooding is possible along the Gulf Coast from the heavy rain.

Rip currents, high surf, isolated tornadoes and some coastal flooding are also possible.

Moisture from Cindy will eventually contribute to heavy rainfall in the lower Mississippi Valley, Tennessee Valley and Ohio Valley.

Tropical Storm Cindy is closing in on the northern Gulf Coast, where it will move inland near the Louisiana-Texas border early Thursday morning. Potentially life-threatening flooding is the biggest concern along the Gulf Coast and in parts of the South through Friday.

Gusty winds, rip currents and isolated tornadoes are also expected.

Moisture and energy from Cindy will also spread north and east ahead of a cold front Thursday into Friday, which will result in heavy rain and possible flooding from the South to as far north as the Ohio Valley.

(MORE: 3 Things to Know About Tropical Storm Cindy)

A tropical storm warning is in effect from San Luis Pass, Texas, to Grand Isle, Louisiana, which means tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours. This warning area includes Houston, Galveston, Texas, Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Lafayette, Louisiana.

Tropical storm conditions are ongoing in the warning area and will spread westward and northward within the warning area through Thursday.

What's Happening Now and Storm Reports

Satellite and radar imagery show shower and thunderstorm activity along the Gulf Coast. That stormy weather is located mainly to the north and east of the low-pressure center.

The highest rainfall amount so far is 8.50 inches in Wiggins, Mississippi. Gulfport-Biloxi Airport in Mississippi picked up 7.98 inches of rain in the 36 hours ending 7 p.m. CDT Wednesday. In Florida, 8.25 inches in Navarre is the top total.

Lake Charles, Louisiana, experienced flash flooding Wednesday evening. Knee-deep water was reported on some roads, along with on/off ramps under water. There were also reports of stranded motorists across Lake Charles.

Flooding from two swollen creeks was observed in Brewton, Alabama, Wednesday afternoon. Some road flooding has also been reported in far southern Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle.

Wind gusts of 45 to 55 mph have been clocked along the Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi coasts since Tuesday.

In Pointe à la Hache, Louisiana, shingles were blown off some homes Tuesday, due to the strong wind gusts.

Damage from a likely tornado occurred Wednesday morning in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Two additional tornadoes were reported near Biloxi, Mississippi, where there was damage to trees, power lines and fences Wednesday morning.

Wednesday evening, storm spotters reported a tornado just north of Onycha, Alabama, but no damage or injuries have been reported.

The maximum storm surge most areas saw Wednesday morning was 2 to 4 feet (mainly east of the Mississippi River), with a localized maximum of 6 feet at Shell Beach, Louisiana, according to storm surge scientist Hal Needham.

(LATEST NEWS: Tropical Storm Cindy Triggers Flooding Along Gulf Coast)

Forecast: What to Expect From Cindy

Cindy is expected to move inland over southeast Texas or southwest Louisiana early Thursday morning, and then will move near or over extreme eastern Texas, western and northern Louisiana and southeast Arkansas Thursday into Thursday night.

Little change in strength is forecast before landfall, with weakening expected thereafter.

An elevated oil platform located southwest of the center of circulation recently reported a wind gust of 75 mph.

It's important to not focus completely on the forecast path of the low-pressure center since impacts will extend well to the east along the Gulf Coast.

Parts of southeast Louisiana, southern Alabama, southern Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle are not in the forecast path but are expected to see a substantial amount of rain, which could cause life-threatening flash flooding.

Here's a rundown of the timing and impacts for Cindy.

  • Through Wednesday night: The biggest flood potential will be in the western Florida panhandle, southern Alabama, southern Mississippi, southern Louisiana and far southeast Texas. Life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding are both possible threats.
  • Thursday-Friday: Heavy rain from Cindy will continue along the Gulf Coast, but moisture from the storm will also begin to spread north and east ahead of a cold front arriving from the Midwest. This could contribute to locally heavy rain and flooding in parts of the lower Mississippi Valley, Tennessee Valley, Ohio Valley and possibly the Appalachians.
  • Storm totals of 6 to 9 inches are expected in southeastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama, and western portions of the Florida Panhandle through Thursday night. Isolated extreme rain amounts up to 15 inches could occur in localized areas, according to the National Hurricane Center.
  • Rainfall amounts of 3 to 5 inches, with isolated amounts up to 7 inches, are possible through Friday from eastern Texas and western Louisiana northeastward to the lower Mississippi Valley, Tennessee Valley and Ohio Valley.
  • A high risk of rip currents is likely along parts of the Gulf Coast. High surf and some coastal flooding are also expected.
  • Inundation of 1 to 3 feet above ground level is expected along the coast in the tropical storm warning area. Inundation of 1 to 3 feet is also possible along the coast from southeast Louisiana to the western Florida Panhandle in areas of strong onshore winds. The greatest impacts will be at times of high tide. These are the next high tides for select locations: Grand Isle, Louisiana (8:44 a.m. Thursday), Dauphin Island, Alabama (9:10 a.m. Thursday), Sabine Pass, Texas (3:41 a.m. and 12:41 p.m. Thursday).
  • Gusty winds are likely near parts of the northern Gulf Coast, particularly north and east of where the low tracks.
  • Isolated tornadoes are also possible through early Thursday morning from southern Mississippi to the western Florida Panhandle. The potential for isolated tornadoes will focus on the lower Mississippi Valley on Thursday.

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