Heavy rain, winds, tornado warnings as Cindy heads inland

Gulf Coast states were in for a third day of rough weather as Tropical Storm Cindy sloshed ashore early Thursday in southwestern Louisiana.

According to forecasts, Cindy, with steady gusts of approximately 80 km/h and 15-30 cm of precipitation in the form of rain, is expected to hit Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the western part of Florida until Thursday.

"It's still far out to say how much we'll get because some models are showing (Cindy) cooling off", said meteorologist Kathleen Carroll. As of 7 a.m. Cindy was centered about 40 miles northwest of Lake Charles, Louisiana and moving north near 12 mph.

Cindy will weaken to a tropical depression as it moves over land Thursday.

The National Weather Service, however, still advises residents to remain vigilant for tropical bands of severe weather that could form up over the city.

The Tropical Storm Warning has ended for Orleans Parish, but remains for lower Jefferson Parish.

By midday Thursday the storm had caused a 16 percent cut in Gulf of Mexico oil production, representing around 288,000 barrels per day of output, the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said. That means area like Beckley, and the coalfield counties of McDowell, Buchanan and Wyoming, could potentially see more heavy rain than Bluefield.

There were no tornadoes reported on Thursday by the National Weather Service, which said there were two in MS and one in Alabama on Wednesday.

A state of emergency was declared in Alabama and Louisiana Wednesday, and portions of the Gulf Coast are under tornado watches and flash flood watches and warnings associated with Cindy. It is forecast to merge with a front over Kentucky and Tennessee Friday.

Over the coming days, the cold front will push the remnants of the storm east and will help dump more rain over the Tennessee and MS valleys. Up to eight inches of rainfall was expected in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida through Friday morning.

Tropical storm force winds of 39 miles per hour or higher are expected closer to the coast, but Cindy is expected to gradually weaken as it tracks toward the ArkLaTex.

  • Carolyn Briggs