MIAMI (AP) — The Latest on tropical weather (all times local):
Tropical Storm Cindy has formed in the Gulf of Mexico and is threatening to spread heavy rain across a wide area of the central Gulf coast.
The National Weather Service in Miami says the storm is centered about 265 miles (430 kilometers) south of Morgan City, Louisiana — or about 355 miles (565 kilometers) southeast of Galveston, Texas. Cindy has top sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph) and the storm is presently stationary in the Gulf. It says Cindy acquired a well-defined center on Tuesday afternoon, becoming the third tropical storm of 2017.
The center say Cindy is expected to reach the Louisiana coast sometime late Wednesday and then move inland over western Louisiana and eastern Texas on Thursday. Forecasters say rain totaling 6 to 9 inches in areas and up to 12 inches in some spots pose a threat to southern portions of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle through Thursday.
Forecasters say a tropical storm warning is in effect from High Island on the upper Texas coast all the way to the mouth of the Pearl River at the state 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.
Coastal residents are feeling the effects of a severe storm system that’s churning in the Gulf of Mexico.
Police say flooding already is being reported on Dauphin Island south of Mobile, Alabama. The main road leading to the island’s narrow western end is partially covered with water, and the city is moving vehicles and equipment to higher ground.
Red flags are flying on the main public beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a warning for people to stay out of the water. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency Tuesday morning because of the flooding threat.
Bands of heavy rain are coming through as far east as the Florida Panhandle.
Coastal Louisiana and Texas are under a tropical storm warning, and forecasters say the Alabama and Mississippi coasts could get as much as 15 inches (38 centimeters) of rain by Thursday night.
Forecasters say a tropical storm warning has now been extended further westward for a disturbance in the central Gulf and it now covers an area from High Island, Texas, to the mouth of the Pearl River between Louisiana and Mississippi.
The National Weather Service also says the biggest threat from the disturbance is the likely heavy rainfall over wide areas of the northern rim of the Gulf of Mexico.
At 11 a.m. EDT, the center said disturbance No. 3 was centered about 265 miles (430 kilometer) south of Morgan City, Louisiana — or about 355 miles (565 kilometers southeast of Galveston, Texas. It’s maximum sustained winds are at 40 mph (65 kph) and the storm is moving toward the northwest at 10 mph (17 kph).
The tropical storm warning means tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere in the warning area in the next 24 to 36 hours.
A tropical storm watch is also in effect on the upper Texas coast from west of High Island to San Luis Pass.
Forecasters say the Alabama and Mississippi coasts could be inundated with as much as 15 inches (38 centimeters)of rain from a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico.
The heaviest rains are expected in an area that includes the port city of Mobile, Alabama, and the cities of Pascagoula and Biloxi in Mississippi. The forecast shows an even wider area from southeastern Louisiana into the western Florida Panhandle could receive as much as 10 inches (25 centimeters)of rain over three days.
The National Weather Service issued an expanded flash flood watch for the area Tuesday, and forecasters say the flooding threat will continue through Thursday night.
Coastal Louisiana is under a tropical storm warning. The National Hurricane Center says the storm is expected to move inshore early Thursday near the Louisiana-Texas line before weakening and moving northeastward in a sweeping arc.
A tropical storm warning has been issued for a section of Louisiana’s coast as a weather system approaches from the Gulf of Mexico.
The warning is in effect from Cameron, Louisiana, to Intracoastal City.
The system’s maximum sustained winds early Tuesday are near 40 mph (64 kph). The U.S. National Hurricane Center says some slight strengthening is possible before the system reaches the coast, either late Wednesday or Wednesday night.
As of 5 a.m. Tuesday, the system is centered about 305 miles (490 kilometers) south-southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River and is moving northwest near 8 mph (13 kph).
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Bret is moving along South America’s northern coast. Its maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph (64 kph) with weakening expected to begin later in the day.