Tropical Storm Cindy strengthens in Gulf; warning area grows

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - From the Florida Panhandle to eastern Texas, residents and government officials along the northern Gulf Coast kept an eye on slow-moving Tropical Storm Cindy, which the National Weather Service said posed a threat of "life-threatening flash flooding".

As of the late Monday update, Cindy was positioned about 230 miles south of Morgan City and heading northwest at 7 mph, a motion expected to continue through Wednesday, hurricane experts said.

The storm is expected to bring flooding rain over much of the Gulf coast, but don't focus just on the forecast of the center of the storm at landfall.

Heavy rains are expected in southeast Texas, Louisiana, and southern areas of Mississippi, Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle through Thursday.

The system will approach the Louisiana coast Wednesday night, with landfall possible near the Texas/Louisiana border before sunrise Thursday.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Lee Smithson, warns of a serious threat of flooding along the Gulf Coast from heavy rain bands predicted to fall out from Tropical Storm Cindy, Tuesday, June 20, 20.

I would expect some areas of street flooding, and possibly some minor flooding of creeks and streams.

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The Gulf of Mexico is home to about 17 percent of U.S. crude output and 5 percent of dry natural gas output daily, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The storm surge will be around 1-3 feet where Cindy intersects land, which is likely between Galveston, Texas and Port Arthur, Texas. Tropical Storm Cindy has been causing rain in much of the Southeast.

John Bel Edwards, like his Alabama counterpart a day earlier, declared a state of emergency Wednesday as unsafe flash-flooding remained a threat.

Cindy formed off the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday. Forecasts said the system could dump from a few inches to more than 12 inches, depending on Cindy's development and path.

The storm could strengthen slightly before it reaches the coast, the hurricane center said.

We've learned not to be complacent during storms.

The warning is in effect from Cameron, Louisiana, to Intracoastal City. It will begin moving toward the northwest.

The system's maximum sustained winds early Tuesday are near 40 miles per hour (64 kph). Its maximum sustained winds are near 40 miles per hour (64 kph) with weakening expected to begin later in the day.

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