A tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico has been upgraded to Tropical Storm Cindy, a day of an expected landfall near the Texas-Louisiana state line.
Forecasters said Tuesday that the system has acquired a “well-defined center,” becoming the third named storm of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from High Island, Texas east to the mouth of the Pearl River at the Louisiana-Mississippi border. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from High Island west to the San Luis Pass in Texas.
The storm is expected to approach the coast of southwest Louisiana late Wednesday or Wednesday night, and move inland over western Louisiana and eastern Texas on Thursday. Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph, with little change in strength expected before Cindy makes landfall.
While avoiding a direct hit, Alabama and Florida are expected to receive heavy rainfall as Cindy bears down on the coast. Forecasters expect 6 to 9 inches of rainfall with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches over southeastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama, and northwestern Florida through Thursday. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for much of the area.
Gulf waters have been completely closed to the public with double red flags at Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton County beaches in Florida as well as Baldwin County beaches in Alabama. Escambia County beaches are flying a single red flag, which closes Gulf waters to swimmers but not to surfers.