Tropical Storm Cindy is threatening areas from the Florida Panhandle to eastern Texas Wednesday, and is responsible for at least one death in Alabama.
A 10-year-old boy died in Fort Morgan, Ala. Wednesday after being struck by a log washed in by a storm surge. He died of injuries he sustained from the debris hitting him, according to the Weather Channel.
The National Weather Service said early Wednesday that flash flood watches covered parts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia as the slow-moving storm trudged closer to the U.S. mainland. The heavy rains are said to be on its east side, meaning the major rain threat stretched from southeastern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.
Cindy, the year’s third tropical storm, has maximum sustained winds near 50 mph Wednesday, slightly weakening from 60 mph recorded earlier Wednesday morning. The storm is located about 165 miles south-southwest of Morgan City, La. as of Wednesday.
By Wednesday morning, the storm had dumped from 2 to 7 inches of rain on parts of southern Louisiana. In coastal Mississippi, some areas received 6 to 9 inches.
“We could see this thing park on the west side of the state and dump rain until Saturday,” Lee Smithson, Mississippi’s Emergency Management Agency Executive Director, said on Tuesday.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the State Operations Center on Tuesday to raise its readiness level from level four/normal conditions to level three/increased readiness.
Heavy rains from the storm are creating flooding in low-lying areas along the Alabama coast, officials said. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency Tuesday.
Police said streets are flooded in village of Bayou La Batre in Mobile County, Ala. and the barrier island of Dauphin Island, where officials closed the beaches there due to the dangerously rough surf.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency in the state on Wednesday. Louisiana was slammed with major flooding last summer from an unnamed storm that heavily damaged the Baton Rouge and Lafayette regions.
“All arms of the state’s emergency preparedness and response apparatus are taking Tropical Storm Cindy seriously, and we are calling on all Louisianans throughout the state to do so as well,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement early Wednesday.
Workers on Grand Isle, Louisiana’s barrier island community south of New Orleans, worked to reinforce a rock levee protecting the island’s vulnerable west side. Officials there decided against calling an evacuation but said in a statement that anyone who wanted to head for the mainland should do so as early as possible because water might eventually cover low-lying parts of the only route off the island.
Already some flooding was reported on Alabama’s Dauphin Island and flood control locks and gates were being closed along Louisiana’s bayou-marbled coast. Authorities in various coastal Louisiana and Mississippi communities handed out sandbags for areas along rivers and bayous.
Much of Florida’s Panhandle is under a tornado watch and officials in Santa Rosa County, which is just east of Pensacola, tweeted that some roads were under water early Wednesday. Local news outlets also reported several roads in Escambia County have been closed due to flooding.
The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings in Saucier, Howison and Hancock County in Mississippi.
A tropical storm warning was in effect from San Luis Pass, Texas, to the Alabama-Florida border.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.