Child killed in Alabama by debris as Tropical Storm Cindy slams Gulf Coast

Authorities told local media that a 10-year-old boy was killed by debris Wednesday morning in Fort Morgan, Alabama, the first death attributed to Tropical Storm Cindy.

The child died of injuries suffered when Cindy's storm surge washed a large log onto the shore and struck him, according to the Associated Press. Police told the boy was from St. Louis and was on vacation with his family.

Officials from Texas to Florida warned residents to take the impacts of Tropical Storm Cindy seriously as the system began to batter the coast with heavy rain, and the National Weather Service said "life-threatening flash flooding" would be brought ashore by the storm.

RELATED: 15 of the deadliest American hurricanes ever

15 of the deadliest American hurricanes ever
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15 of the deadliest American hurricanes ever

Hurricane Hugo, 1989: 21 deaths

Hurricane Hugo made landfall as a Category 4 storm in South Carolina. It caused 21 deaths in the US and resulted in $7.1 billion of damage. At the time, it was the costliest storm in US history.

Photo courtesy: Getty

Tropical Storm Allison, 2001: 41 deaths

While not an official hurricane, Allison clocks in as the costliest and deadliest tropical storm in US history, causing 41 deaths and costing more than $5 billion in damage. The storm started over the Gulf of Mexico near Texas, then traveled east, causing floods like the one pictured here in Houston, Texas.

Photo courtesy: NOAA

Hurricane Irene, 2011: 56 deaths

Hurricane Irene, the first storm to hit the US since Ike three years earlier, made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm. The storm eventually made its way up to New York City, bringing flooding -- like the kind pictured here in Puerto Rico -- and causing $7.3 billion in damage overall.

Photo courtesy: AP

Hurricane Floyd, 1999: 57 deaths

Hurricane Floyd was a catastrophic storm because of the rain it brought along. The rain caused extreme flooding from North Carolina on up as the Category 2 storm traveled up the East Coast.

Photo courtesy: NOAA

Great Atlantic Hurricane, 1944: 64 deaths

The Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944 was also devastating to New England, with 64 deaths and more than $100 million in damage. The storm was a Category 3 as it sped up the coast, hitting the Carolinas, Rhode Island, and Long Island before downgrading to a Category 2 in Maine.

Photo courtesy: NOAA

Hurricane Agnes, 1972: 122 deaths

Hurricane Agnes, as seen in this image made it all the way inland to Pennsylvania. Although it was only a Category 1 storm (with winds from 74-95 mph), it still caused 122 deaths and caused $2.1 billion in damage.

Photo courtesy: NOAA

Hurricane Ike, 2008: 195 deaths

The third costliest storm in US history, with $29.5 billion in damage, occurred in September 2008. Starting off the west coast of Africa, Hurricane Ike made its way over the Caribbean and into the Gulf, making US landfall in Texas as a Category 2 storm

Photo courtesy: Reuters

Hurricane Camille, 1969: 256 deaths

Hurricane Camille formed in the Gulf of Mexico and hit Mississippi as a Category 5 storm. Camille caused more than 256 deaths and clocks in as the second most intense hurricane to hit the US.

Photo courtesy: NOAA

New England, 1938: 256 deaths

Nicknamed "Long Island Express," the storm hit Puerto Rico as a Category 5 storm before charging north and hitting Long Island, New York and Connecticut as a Category 3 hurricane. The storm was responsible for more than 256 deaths.

Photo courtesy: NOAA

Hurricane Sandy, 2012: 285 deaths

With $71.4 billion in damage, Hurricane Sandy was the second costliest hurricane in US history. The Category 1 storm pummeled New York City, flooding the city's transportation systems and leaving thousands of homes destroyed.

It's looking more and more like Hurricane Joaquin won't make landfall in the US and join the list of most horrific storms in US history.

Photo courtesy: AP

Hurricane Audrey, 1957: 416 deaths

The U.S. started naming storms with women's names starting in 1953. Hurricane Audrey, the first storm of the 1957 hurricane season was the deadliest of the 1950s. It originated in the Gulf of Mexico, making landfall in Texas as a Category 4 storm. This image of the storm shows just how far hurricane imaging has come.

Photo courtesy: NOAA

Atlantic-Gulf, 1919: 600 to 900 deaths

This Category 4 storm swept into the Gulf of Mexico right under Key West, Florida(pictured), landing as a Category 3 storm in Corpus Christi, Texas. Anywhere from 600 to 900 people died in that storm.

Hurricane Katrina, 2005: 1,200 deaths

Hurricane Katrina is arguably the most notorious storm of the 21st century. The storm made landfall as a Category 5 near Miami before striking Louisiana as a Category 3 storm. Katrina was the third deadliest, and costliest hurricane in U.S. history with more than 1,200 deaths and $108 billion in damage.

Photo courtesy: Reuters

San Felipe Okeechobee, 1928: 2,500 deaths

This hurricane was the second deadliest in US history, with more than 2,500 deaths. The Category 4 storm made landfall in Palm Beach on September 10, 1928. Puerto Rico got hit hard as well, with winds at 144 mph.

Photo courtesy: NOAA

Galveston, Texas in 1900: 8,000 to 12,000 deaths

The deadliest hurricane in US history happened at the turn of the 20th century. The Category 4 of 5 hurricane -- with winds anywhere from 130-156 mph -- made landfall in Galveston, Texas (pictured), then headed north through the Great Plains. Anywhere from 8,000 to 12,000 people died in the storm.

Photo courtesy: Creative Commons


Photos posted to social media Wednesday morning showed flooding on Lakeshore Drive at Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans. Coastal flooding along the along the Gulf Coast closed several roads.

(MORE FROM WEATHER.COM: Check the Forecast for Tropical Storm Cindy)

Winds from Cindy began to impact Louisiana on Tuesday, with light roof damage reported in Plaquemines, according to the NWS. There were also reports of shingles blown off of homes.

In the southern portion of the Bayou State, emergency management officials from several parishes met to discuss preparations for the heavy rainfall expected to be the biggest threat for most in the path of the storm, according to the New Orleans Advocate.

RELATED: Top 5 cities vulnerable to hurricanes

Top 5 cities vulnerable to hurricanes
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Top 5 cities vulnerable to hurricanes

Miami, Florida

Miami takes the number one spot on this list with a 16 percent chance of experiencing the impacts of a hurricane in any given year. Based on historical data, on average a hurricane will pass within 50 miles of the Miami metropolitan area every six to eight years. With the Atlantic Ocean to the east and a maximum elevation of 42 feet above sea level Miami's geography makes it highly vulnerable to hurricanes.

In addition to this, a majority of the population resides within 20 miles of the coastline increasing the risk of high property damage.

"Miami has a large population density, and as a result, the effects of a major hurricane would be catastrophic to the city," AccuWeather Meteorologist David Samuhel said. "Also, because of its southern location, Miami is probably the largest city on this list to see a Category 4 or 5 hurricane in the future."

Although a major hurricane is long overdue in Miami, the city has dealt with its share of intense hurricanes in the past. The last major hurricane to affect the city was Hurricane Andrew in 1992, which packed winds of 165 mph and currently holds the record as the third strongest U.S. landfalling hurricane. Andrew's total damage cost was $26.5 billion as communities in the surrounding areas were severely affected due to its intense winds and high storm surge.

Key West, Florida

Key West, like Miami, has a 16 percent chance of being impacted by a hurricane during any Atlantic hurricane season. Known as the Southernmost City in the Continental United States, Key West is directly impacted by a hurricane every 5.96 years, according to Hurricane City.

The Florida Keys are an archipelago of about 1,700 islands spanning 113 miles with Key West located at the southern tip. With the Atlantic Ocean to the south and east and the Gulf of Mexico to the north and west, the coastal town is exposed to all sides to passing hurricanes.

Key West with maximum elevation of 18 feet above sea level makes it susceptible to heavy flooding and storm surge during a hurricane event. Hurricane Wilma in 2004, regarded as the worst storm to hit the area, passed just west of Key West and produced a storm surge of 8 feet leaving 60-70 percent of the island under water.

"Key West has faced several situations in the past where it has been brushed or directly affected by some of the strongest hurricanes to hit the United States. This includes the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane which was remembered as one of the most intense U.S. hurricanes based on pressure and maximum wind speeds," Samuhel said. "Because Key West is so far from the mainland, evacuating people can be a difficult challenge during a hurricane event."

Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

Located on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Cape Hatteras has a 15 percent chance of feeling the impacts of a hurricane in any given year. Cape Hatteras is positioned 280 miles farther east than Palm Beach, Florida, (easternmost location of the Florida coast). As a result, Cape Hatteras has been exposed in the past to hurricanes that move up the Eastern Seaboard.

"Cape Hatteras is very close to the Gulf Stream, which enables hurricanes to strengthen due to warmer ocean temperatures during the summer," Samuhel explained. "Typically, when tropical systems get caught in the jet stream off the East Coast of the U.S., they tend to curve out to sea, but because of the location of Hatteras, hurricanes tend to clip that region before affecting anywhere else on the East Coast."

When Hurricane Isabel struck the region in 2003, the Army Corp of Engineers was forced to fill up an inlet that was created when the storm split Hatteras Island between Frisco and Hatteras, North Carolina.

Tampa, Florida

The western coast of Florida has endured its share of hurricanes, and the city of Tampa is no exception. The Tampa-St. Petersburg area has an 11 percent chance of feeling the impacts of a hurricane in any given year. Tampa, situated on a peninsula lying along Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, is exposed to hurricanes entering the Gulf and systems forming in the Atlantic. Many of the 347,645 people living in the area have homes along the coast, making residents susceptible to storm surge.

"Like Miami, Tampa is a large metropolitan area and the effects of a hurricane would be widespread throughout the city," Samuhel explained. "Because it is located by the shallow Tampa Bay, water piles up into the city, causing very significant storm surge along the coastline."

The city hasn't suffered a direct hit by a strong hurricane since the 1921 Tampa Bay Hurricane, the first major hurricane to hit the city, but 68 tropical storms and hurricanes have passed within 60 miles of the city according to Hurricane City. Most recently in 2004, Hurricane Charley caused $16 billion in damages when the Category 4 storm made landfall just south of Tampa.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Hurricane Katrina in 2005 shined the light on how devastating a tropical system can be for the city of New Orleans. Like Tampa, The Big Easy has an 11 percent chance of experiencing the impact of a hurricane in an average year. According to NOAA, a hurricane makes landfall within 50 miles of New Orleans about once every seven to 11 years.

The city has since made drastic improvements to its levee system since Katrina left most of the city under several feet of water. Nevertheless, with more than 50 percent of the city living below sea level and the rapid sinking of marshy coastal land in southeastern Louisiana, New Orleans still remains highly vulnerable to storm surge during a major hurricane.

"The Mississippi River is almost 30 feet above the city level just to put in perspective of how low New Orleans is in terms of elevation," Samuhel said. "The land around New Orleans is sinking, which puts the city in more danger if another major hurricane strike."


"We learned from last year's floods that even unnamed storms can be devastating," Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement. On Wednesday morning, Edwards declared a state of emergency for the entire state.

(MORE FROM WEATHER.COM: 7 Extreme Hurricane Facts You May Not Know)

While no evacuations have been ordered in New Orleans, officials urged residents of the city to prepare for prolonged power outages, or even the possibility they may need to evacuate, the report added. In some surrounding parishes, sandbags were ordered and many prepared for low-lying areas to flood.

"Public safety is our top priority and right now we are monitoring this activity closely," New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a press release. "This tropical disturbance could potentially impact us beginning tonight. New Orleans is no stranger to natural disasters, which is why we strongly encourage every resident to take action now and plan ahead."

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Before the rain began, helicopters and high water vehicles were moved into areas that could experience flooding, the AP said. FEMA also moved 125,000 meals and 200,000 liters of water into the state, the report added.

Road closures were reported in multiple parishes; the Advocate has a complete list.

To the west, 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. He also activated four Texas Task Force 1 boat squads and two Texas Military Department vehicles squads of five vehicles each to respond to any weather-related emergencies.

Floods Close Roads, Beaches in Florida

As Cindy's rainfall intensified, parts of the Florida Panhandle took on more water than it could handle. Manhole covers bubbled and roads were quickly flooded as the rain refused to relent.

"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," Pensacola real estate broker John Rickmon told the Associated Press. "We were saturated before this even started ... I'm a bit concerned about what the next 24 hours will bring."

Officials closed parts of State Road 399 Wednesday morning between Navarre Beach and Pensacola Beach due to flooding. Several roads were closed across Santa Rosa County; the county's government website has a complete list.

Many of the panhandle's beaches were also closed as the threats from heavy surf and coastal erosion became dangerous.

"With severe weather including heavy rain and flooding expected across the Florida Panhandle this week, families in Northwest Florida should remain alert to local news and weather updates and make sure they have a plan," Florida Gov. Rick Scott said in a release. "I have been monitoring the storm system in the Gulf of Mexico and will continue to receive briefings on possible impacts to our state."

Huge Rainfall Totals Reported in Mississippi

Gulfport-Biloxi Airport recorded 7.19 inches of rain in a 24-hour span, with 6.14 inches of that falling in just 12 hours. In Stone County, 8.5 inches of rainfall was reported from Cindy late Wednesday morning.

Officials handed out sandbags in towns along the coast in preparation for likely flooding. An emergency was declared in Biloxi.

Emergency Declared for Entire State of Alabama

A state of emergency was declared Tuesday by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey as the state prepared for impacts from the tropical storm. The emergency declaration makes state resources available to assist areas impacted by the storm.

Summer schools in Mobile and Baldwin counties canceled classes Wednesday, reported.

In Mobile, flash flooding closed several roads, local officials said.

Reported Tornadoes Leave Damage

Short-lived spinups are commonly a threat with tropical systems, and several reports of tornadoes accompanied Cindy. Minor damage was reported Tuesday on Florida's St. George Island, according to, and additional damage was reported in Fort Walton Beach from a possible tornado on Wednesday. No injuries have been reported from these brief spinups.

Cindy Causes Problems as Far North as Atlanta

On Tuesday, the northern end of Cindy combined with a cold front to dump plenty of rainfall as far north as metro Atlanta, which caused serious flooding in some parts of the city. Some roads were closed because of the floodwaters. Hundreds of flights were delayed Tuesday at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware. In Gwinnett County, 27 people were rescued from a flooded parking lot.

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