By: Associated Press; WCTV
June 21, 2017
5:30 p.m. ET
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Severe weather whipped up Tropical Storm Cindy has damaged homes and vehicles in portions of the Florida Panhandle.
Fort Walton Beach spokeswoman Jo Soria said Wednesday that falling trees have hit houses and cars in what she called "pockets of wind damage" in two or three residential neighborhoods. The locally popular Ferry Park had a number of trees down and a concrete-block baseball dugout was destroyed.
Okaloosa County Emergency Management spokesman Rob Brown said the National Weather Service told the county the storm was a supercell. He says it was likely a tornado, but forecasters won't declare it as one until they have a ground survey team assess the area.
Forecasters say heavy rains are now lashing parts of the northern Gulf coast as Tropical Storm Cindy gets closer to expected landfall in coming hours.
The National Hurricane Center says it expects little change in strength before Cindy reaches the coast late Wednesday, somewhere along the Texas-Louisiana line.
By Wednesday afternoon, the center of the storm was about 125 miles (200 kilometers) southeast of Galveston, Texas, and roughly the same distance south of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Top wind speeds have remained at about 50 mph (85 kph) in recent hours as the storm churns toward land at about 9 mph (kph).
Forecasters say heavy rains from Cindy could cause life-threatening flash floods. The forecast generally calls for 6-9 inches (150-230 millimeters) of rain with up to 15 inches (380 millimeters) in some isolated spots. The Miami-based center also warns a few tornadoes are possible overnight from the Florida Panhandle into south Louisiana.
Authorities say a 10-year-old Missouri boy has died on the Alabama coast after being struck by a log washed in on rough surf associated with Tropical Storm Cindy.
Baldwin County Sheriff's Capt. Stephen Arthur says the boy was hit by the debris around midmorning Wednesday in Fort Morgan, a coastal community on a peninsula at the mouth of Mobile Bay. Stephen said witnesses reported the boy was standing outside a condominium when he was struck by the log that crashed in on a large wave.
Arthur says the child was vacationing with his family and was from the St. Louis area. He says relatives and emergency workers tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate the boy. His name wasn't immediately released.
The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Cindy is heading toward the northern Gulf coast, where it is expected to make landfall in the coming hours.
The center said in an update at 2 p.m. ET Wednesday that the storm was centered about 170 miles (270 kilometers) southwest of Morgan City, Louisiana -- or roughly the same distance southeast of Galveston, Texas. Its sustained winds continue to top out at 50 mph (85 kph) and it's moving closer to the coast at a rate of 9 mph (14 kph).
Forecasters say the storm is nearing the coast along a stretch between southeast Texas and southwestern Louisiana. They add that little change in strength is expected before landfall but that it will weekend once it moves inland on Thursday.
Heavy rains associated with the storm are raising the possibility of life-threatening flash floods over a wide area of the coast.
Tropical Storm Cindy is pumping seawater into an area of the Mississippi-Louisiana coast that's vulnerable to storm tide flooding.
Tides on Wednesday morning were 4 feet (1.2 meters) above normal in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi and 5 feet (1.5 meters) above normal farther southwest, at Shell Beach, on Louisiana's coast.
Bay St. Louis is in Hancock County, where Emergency Management Director Brian Adam says officials counted 355 roads with standing water early Wednesday. The low-lying southern half of the county is interlaced with inlets, bayous, rivers and canals. The county faces frequent tidal flooding. Adam says it happens five to 10 times a year.
Adam says he's received no reports of flooded homes. Many homes in the county are elevated on stilts.
Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Cindy are causing flooding in low-lying areas along the Alabama coast.
Some roads are covered with water in the seafood village of Bayou La Batre, and police say streets are flooded on the barrier island of Dauphin Island. Officials there have closed the beaches because of dangerously rough surf.
Double red flags are flying in Gulf Shores to warn people to stay out of the waves. But live video feeds Wednesday showed a few people still on the beach despite rain showers and high winds.
Becca Caldemeyer says business is slow at her bait shop in Bayou La Batre because it's too windy to fish. She says sea water is washing into marshes, but she can still get to and from work since the roads aren't completely covered with water.
Rain has slackened along Mississippi's Gulf Coast after an overnight drenching, but not before a waterspout came ashore in Biloxi, causing minor damage.
Harrison County Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy says the waterspout made landfall around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, causing damage to fences, trees and power lines. No one was hurt. One large live oak branch was downed on the grounds of Beauvoir, the historic home that once belonged to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
The Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport has reported more than 7 inches (180 mms) of rain since Tuesday morning.
Mississippi officials reported standing water on hundreds of roads after heavy rains, but Lacy says some flash flooding is receding for now, and no buildings have yet been reported as flooding. Coastal rivers are expected to leap their banks, though, as water runs off.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Forecasters say a slightly weakened Tropical Storm Cindy is threatening heavy rains and life-threatening flash flooding over a wide area of the northern Gulf Coast.
As of 11 a.m. ET Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami says Cindy was located about 170 miles (270 kilometers) south-southwest of Morgan City, Louisiana -- or about 180 miles (285 kilometers) southeast of Galveston, Texas. The storm has top sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph) and is moving toward the northwest at 10 mph (17 kph).
Forecasters say a tropical storm warning has been discontinued for the greater New Orleans area and other areas north and east of the mouth of the Mississippi River. But the tropical storm warning remains in effect from the mouth of the Mississippi to San Luis Pass, Texas. Forecasters say the storm is expected to reach the coast of southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas later Wednesday before moving inland.
Heavy rains are expected in southeast Texas, Louisiana, and southern areas of Mississippi, Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle through Thursday.
John Rickmon, a real estate broker in Pensacola, Florida, said he has been touring properties in the Panhandle area to see if they've been affected by rains from the tropical storm in the Gulf. He says some streets had water bubbling up from manhole covers.
"There's nowhere for the water to go, so we're seeing lots of ponding and lots of retention ponds that are right on the tipping point," d Rickmon said. "We were saturated before this even started... I'm a bit concerned about what the next 24 hours will bring."
Rickmon said he keeps a rain gauge at his house and it had already registered 8.5 inches (22 centimeters) before the most intense rains began.
Nearby, the National Park Service reported the bridge between Navarre Beach and Pensacola Beach was closed because of flooding.
Elsewhere in the Florida Panhandle, an emergency official reported downed trees and other damage -- but no injuries -- from severe weather caused by a passing storm cell. Okaloosa County Emergency Management spokesman Rob Brown said the damage was reported at several points in and around Fort Walton Beach in the county -- but none of it was major structural damage.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency ahead of Tropical Storm Cindy's landfall.
The governor's spokesman Richard Carbo said Edwards signed the statewide declaration Wednesday morning.
The storm is moving closer to the Gulf Coast, where it threatens to bring a storm surge of up to 3 feet (0.91 meters).
Wednesday morning, the storm was centered about 165 miles (265 kilometers) south-southwest of Morgan City, Louisiana, and is moving northwest near 8 mph (13 kph).
The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Cindy is expected to approach the coast of southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas late Wednesday or Wednesday night and move inland Thursday.
Much of Florida's Panhandle remains under a tornado watch as Tropical Storm Cindy looms in the Gulf of Mexico.
Officials in Santa Rosa County, which is just east of Pensacola, tweeted that some roads were under water early Wednesday. They urged motorists to use caution if they are driving in the southern end of the county.
News outlets also reported several roads in neighboring Escambia County have been closed due to flooding.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for much of the region until 10 a.m. Wednesday. Forecasters say the area can expect heavy rain through Thursday as the tropical storm moves through Louisiana and Texas.
Tropical Storm Cindy is creating the threat of tornadoes along the northern Gulf Coast.
The National Weather Service says flash flooding from torrential rain is the main problem associated with the storm, but twisters are also possible.
Forecasters issued tornado warnings for the areas around Fort Walton Beach and Indian Pass in Florida after radar indicated possible tornadoes Wednesday morning.
A tornado watch covered the entire coast from southwestern Louisiana to near the Big Bend region of Florida.
Alabama's main beaches are mostly empty as Cindy blows offshore, and Baldwin and Mobile counties canceled summer classes because of the storm.
Tropical Storm Cindy is moving closer to the Gulf Coast, where it threatens to bring a storm surge of up to 3 feet (0.91 meters).
As of 8 a.m. ET Wednesday, the storm was centered about 165 miles (265 kilometers) south-southwest of Morgan City, Louisiana, and is moving northwest near 8 mph (13 kph). The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Cindy is expected to approach the coast of southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas late Wednesday or Wednesday night and move inland Thursday.
The storm's maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph (96 kph).
The National Weather Service said early Wednesday that flash flood watches covered parts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.
Forecasters in Louisiana say Tropical Storm Cindy will bring the potential for a storm surge of up to 3 feet (0.91 meters) along the Gulf Coast.
The National Weather Service said early Wednesday that flash flood watches covered parts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia as the storm trudged closer to the U.S. mainland.
The weather service has warned that the storm brings the threat of "life-threatening flash flooding."
Rain bands began pushing ashore Tuesday even before the system reached tropical storm strength. It was stationary much of the day Tuesday but was on a lumbering track that would take its center toward southwestern Louisiana and eastern Texas by Wednesday morning.
But the heavy rains were on its east side, meaning the major rain threat stretched from southeastern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.
By: WCTV Eyewitness News | Associated Press
June 20, 2017 - 3 p.m.
MIAMI (AP) -- 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.
As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, 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.
WCTV Chief Meteorologist Mike McCall says heavy rainfall is the biggest threat associated with the storm, with most of the rainfall being to the west of our local area. The heaviest rainfall we will see from this system is expected to move through the area on Tuesday evening.
By: Associated Press
June 20, 2017
MIAMI (AP) -- Coastal residents are feeling the effects of 'Potential Tropical Cyclone Three,' 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.
To view the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center on Potential Tropical Cyclone Three, visit www.nhc.noaa.gov.
By: WCTV Eyewitness News
June 19, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The National Hurricane Center is monitoring what is being called 'Potential Tropical Cyclone Three' in the Gulf of Mexico.
As of 4 p.m. Monday, the tropical system was located 305 south of the mouth of the Mississippi River, with maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour.
Although the system is not yet a tropical storm, due to the possibility for slight strengthening, a tropical storm warning has been issued from Intracoastal City, Louisiana, to the Mouth of the Pearl River and a tropical storm watch has been issued from west of Intracoastal City to High Island, Texas.
The 4 p.m. advisory did not include any watches or warnings for Florida.
At 5 p.m. the NHC also announced the development of Tropical Storm Bret, which is located 125 miles southeast of Trinidad, with maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour.
The next complete advisory is set to be issued at 10 p.m.
By: News Service of Florida
June 19, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A low-pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico could be the first storm to threaten Florida during the 2017 hurricane season.
The system, named Invest 93L and currently near Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, was too disorganized to have an official track or strength forecast as of Monday morning, but at a minimum, significant rainfall is expected in the Florida Panhandle later in the week.
Early projections show the storm's track taking it west toward Louisiana and Texas, but a majority of the rain associated with the storm will be on its eastern side. Hurricane hunter aircraft were expected to investigate the system Monday afternoon.
“We are, regardless of the track, expecting quite a bit of rain potentially out of this system,” National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Wool said. “It could be enough rain to cause some flooding problems in a couple of days' time. We'll keep an eye on that. That's something that we are fairly certain is going to happen, regardless of how strong the system gets and which track it ultimately takes.”
Gov. Rick Scott scheduled a late-afternoon call Monday with Bryan Koon, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, to discuss the tropical outlook, according to Scott's office. Hurricane season started June 1 and ends Nov. 30.