Tropical Storm Cindy forms, Gulf Coast braces for heavy rain

Tropical Storm Cindy formed Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico, and is at risk of bring heavy rain across the central Gulf coast.

The National Weather Service said the cyclone is centered about 280 miles south of Morgan City, Louisiana and has top sustained gales of 45 mph. The storm is currently stationary in the Gulf, and has a “well-defined center, ” according to the NWS.

Cindy, the third tropical storm of 2017, is expected to reach the Louisiana coast sometime late Wednesday and then move inland over western Louisiana and eastern Texas on Thursday.

The storm is expected to bringing 6 to 9 inches of rain in areas, and up to 12 inches in some spots across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle through Thursday.

A tropical storm warning is now in effect from High Island on the upper Texas coast all the way to the mouth of the Pearl River at the country line of Louisiana and Mississippi. A tropical storm watch is in effect elsewhere on the Texas coast, from west of High Island to San Luis Pass.

TRACK THE STORM AT MYFOXHURRICANE .

In Louisiana, local officials are taking steps to prepare for the potential of flooding from Cindy.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and several city and emergency officials told residents Tuesday to be prepared, FOX 8 New Orleans reported.

There is no system that can take more than so much rainfall in a short period of time. That is where the hazard is, Landrieu told. So, if we get hit genuinely, really hard for a prolonged period of time that’s when the street are going to start to flood.

Landrieu said the city’s pumps will eventually catch up with the rainfall, but residents know what parts of their neighborhoods will see inundating during heavy rains.

The Louisiana National Guard dispatched high water vehicles and helicopters into flood-prone areas. The country said the Federal Emergency Management Agency was moving 125,000 dinners and 200,000 liters of water into Louisiana.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said the advance notice of the storm dedicated officials time to put emergency plans in place. Louisiana was slammed with major inundating last summertime from an unnamed cyclone that heavily injury the Baton Rouge and Lafayette regions.

In Alabama, Governor Kay Ivey declared a statewide State of Emergency in anticipation of severe climate moving through.

Hurricane season is underway and that means possibilities for increased tropical activity along the Gulf Coast, Ivey said in a statement. To ensure the state of Alabama is prepared, I have issued a State of Emergency effective today. This State of Emergency will guarantee state resources are on standby and are ready to assist impacted communities if necessary.

The Alabama National Guard is also being activated of preparing for the potential impact of the severe weather.

Based on the forecast and prediction of the National Weather Service Offices for Alabama, residents need to start preparations for widespread rainfall totals of 4 to 8 inches with isolated areas of greater than 10 inches possible through Thursday, Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Art Faulkner said in a press release. Being prepared for potential inundation conditions is critical, because flash flooding can be a very dangerous situation.

In Saraland, Alabama, residents near Bayou Sara expended Tuesday picking up free sandbags from the city’s public works department before Cindy moves in, FOX 10 reported.

Public works crews told FOX 10 they served about 1,500 people in four hours. Many of those getting sandbags told FOX 10 issues they’ve had in the past.

“Last time it rained genuinely, really bad, me and mom were going to the movies, ” Richard Metts told FOX 10. “We came back and it literally, my road was completely flooded: like the fire truck was going up and down the road getting the cars that were stuck in the water.”

At the Escatawpa Hollow Campground in Alabama, near the Mississippi State line, owned Larry Godfrey told the Associated Press he was prepared for inundating that would add to the woes of a rainy spring.

“We’ve had so much rainfall, we haven’t done any business in about eight weeks because of the rainfall, ” told Godfrey, whose campground typically hosts swimmers and boaters. He said the Escatawpa River, at 15 feet ), would typically be lower than 3 feet at this time of year.

While the northern Gulf Coast braced for Cindy, the southern Caribbean region was dealing with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Bret, which unleashed heavy flooding, knocked out power and ripped off several roofs in some areas of Trinidad& Tobago. Bret had degenerated into a tropical wave by Tuesday afternoon.

All airports in Trinidad& Tobago reopened afterwards Tuesday, though public schools and many businesses remain closed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report .

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