Tropical Storm Cindy strengthens in Gulf; warning area grows

Forecasts said the system could dump from a few inches to more than 12 inches (a few centimeters to more than 25 cm), depending on Cindy's development and path. The center of Cindy will likely intersect land in Texas, but due to environmental wind shear, the system is lopsided.

NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite passed over a developing low pressure area in the Gulf of Mexico and gathered two days of rainfall and storm height information. A tropical storm watch covered a large swath of the upper Texas coast from west of High Island to San Luis Pass.

On the forecast track, the center of Cindy will approach the coast of southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas late Wednesday, and move inland over southeastern Texas on Thursday, the Miami-based weather forecaster said.

The developing has already triggered Tropical Storm Warnings and Watches along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Nelson says the beaches will see hardly any rain from Tropical Storm Cindy this week, but steady on-shore wind will heighten the risk of unsafe rip currents.

Rain bands began pushing ashore Tuesday even before the system reached tropical storm strength. "It's not wind, it's rain we're concerned about", said Greg Flynn with the Mississippi Emergency Management Service.

In addition to the risk of flooding and severe thunderstorms, a persistent flow of air off the Gulf of Mexico will create hazardous surf and seas.

Rainbands associated with Tropical Storm Cindy will continue to move across South Mississippi through Thursday, causing flooding in low-lying areas and flash flooding. This added instability in a moisture-laden atmosphere with impressive wind shear aloft may lead to a threat of isolated tornadoes.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency Tuesday morning because of the flooding threat.

Coastal Louisiana is under a tropical storm warning. The US National Hurricane Centre expects the storm to make landfall by early Thursday morning.

Areas of Biloxi, MS, are reporting flooding.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Bret is moving along South America's northern coast.

  • Leroy Wright