Tropical Storm Cindy strengthens over central Gulf of Mexico

Tropical Storm Cindy has strengthened in the central Gulf of Mexico, and it will be a soaker, bringing potentially life-threatening flooding concerns to parts of the Gulf Coast through late this week. Gusty winds, rip currents and isolated tornadoes are also expected.

A tornado watch is in effect for southern Alabama, southern Louisiana, southern Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle until 10 a.m. CDT. This watch area includes New Orleans, Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida.

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Severe weather in the US 2017 -- tornadoes, snowstorms, flooding, hail
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Severe weather in the US 2017 -- tornadoes, snowstorms, flooding, hail
Abdel Salah, the owner of Sam's Food and Liquor Store surveys damage after a series of tornados tore through in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S., February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Ben Depp
Heavy thunderstorm clouds fill the sky over Center City Philadelphia, PA, on Feb. 25, 2017. (Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Residents clear their cars and street of snow in Weehawken, New Jersey, as the One World Trade Center and lower Manhattan are seen after a snowstorm in New York, U.S. March 14, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
PERRYVILLE, MO - MARCH 01: A utility pole was downed during last night's tornado on March 1, 2017 in Perryville, Missouri. At least one person was killed when the tornado crossed interstate 55. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
Birds sit on some branches in Central Park in New York on March 14, 2017. Winter Storm Stella dumped sleet and snow across the northeastern United States on Tuesday but spared New York from the worst after authorities cancelled thousands of flights and shut schools. Blizzard warnings were in effect in parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts and upstate New York, but were lifted for New York City, the US financial capital home to 8.4 million residents, where snow turned to sleet, hail and rain. / AFP PHOTO / Eric BARADAT (Photo credit should read ERIC BARADAT/AFP/Getty Images)
PERRYVILLE, MO - MARCH 01: A house along Pcr 906 is destroyed after last night's tornado on March 1, 2017 in Perryville, Missouri. At least one person was killed when the tornado crossed interstate 55. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
Heavy thunderstorm clouds fill the sky over Center City Philadelphia, PA, on Feb. 25, 2017. (Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
PERRYVILLE, MO - MARCH 01: A shed for farm equipment on Pcr 906 collapsed and metal sheeting was tangled in trees after last night's tornado, on March 1, 2017 in Perryville, Missouri. At least one person was killed when the tornado crossed interstate 55. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
PERRYVILLE, MO - MARCH 01: A house and garage were destroyed on Hwy V after last night's tornado on March 1, 2017 in Perryville, Missouri. At least one person was killed when the tornado crossed interstate 55. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
A resident clears the street of snow in Weehawken, New Jersey, as the Empire State Building and Middle Manhattan are seen after a snowstorm in New York, U.S. March 14, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Debris covers a street in New Orleans East after a series of tornados tore through New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana, leaving trees, power lines and homes and businesses leveled, in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S., February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Ben Depp
Tien Nguyen cleans up debris in "Q" Nail studio on Chef Menteur highway which he and his wife own, they survived the tornado by sheltering in the bathroom, a tornados tore through New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana, leaving trees, power lines and homes and businesses leveled, in New Orleans, Louisiana, February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Ben Depp
Two snowmen sit in Central Park in New York on March 14, 2017. Winter Storm Stella dumped sleet and snow across the northeastern United States on Tuesday but spared New York from the worst after authorities cancelled thousands of flights and shut schools. Blizzard warnings were in effect in parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts and upstate New York, but were lifted for New York City, the US financial capital home to 8.4 million residents, where snow turned to sleet, hail and rain. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Trailers lie on their sides behind a Procter and Gamble warehouse after a tornado ripped through the area on Sunday in Albany, Georgia, U.S. January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Tami Chappell
A snowplow clears snow in Times Square during a snowstorm in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S. March 14, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A gas sign from a gas station sits in a tree nearby after a tornado ripped through the area on Sunday in Albany, Georgia, U.S. January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Tami Chappell
Friends used there snow day to go sledding on a hill at 47th street northwest and Massachusetts Avenue in Washington on March 14, 2017. Winter Storm Stella dumped sleet and snow across the northeastern United States on Tuesday but spared New York from the worst after authorities cancelled thousands of flights and shut schools. Blizzard warnings were in effect in parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts and upstate New York, but were lifted for New York City, the US financial capital home to 8.4 million residents, where snow turned to sleet, hail and rain. / AFP PHOTO / Tasos Katopodis (Photo credit should read TASOS KATOPODIS/AFP/Getty Images)
A police car pushes a cab stuck on a snow and sleet-covered street in New York on March 14, 2017. Winter Storm Stella dumped sleet and snow across the northeastern United States on Tuesday but spared New York from the worst after authorities cancelled thousands of flights and shut schools. Blizzard warnings were in effect in parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts and upstate New York, but were lifted for New York City, the US financial capital home to 8.4 million residents, where snow turned to sleet, hail and rain. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
The Rustic Barn, an event hall, which suffered major tornado damage, is seen from an unmanned aerial vehicle in Canton, Texas, April 30, 2017. REUTERS/Brandon Wade TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Homeowners clean up debris after a tornado hit the town of Emory, Texas, U.S. April 30, 2017. REUTERS/Brandon Wade
Homes are severely damaged after a tornado hit the town of Emory, Texas, U.S. April 30, 2017. REUTERS/Brandon Wade
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(MORE: 3 Things to Know About Tropical Storm Cindy)

A tropical storm warning has been issued from San Luis Pass, Texas, to the Alabama-Florida border, including Lake Pontchartrain, which means tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours. This warning area includes New Orleans, Houston, Galveston, Texas, Lake Charles, Louisiana, Lafayette, Louisiana, Biloxi, Mississippi, and Mobile, Alabama.

Tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the coast within the warning area by early Wednesday and spread westward within the warning area through early Thursday.

Satellite imagery shows vigorous shower and thunderstorm activity in the northern Gulf of Mexico and along the Gulf Coast. That stormy weather is located mainly to the north and east of the low-pressure center, which is over 200 miles south of Morgan City, Louisiana.

(MORE: Hurricane Central)

Cindy is expected to move northwestward and approach the coasts of southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas late Wednesday into Wednesday night, before moving inland over southeast Texas on Thursday.

It's important to not focus completely on the forecast path of the low-pressure center since impacts will extend well to the east along the Gulf Coast.

Parts of southeast Louisiana, southern Alabama, southern Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle are not in the forecast path but are expected to see a substantial amount of rain, which could cause life-threatening flash flooding.

Another ingredient in this soaking setup is a stalling frontal boundary in the South that will also provide a focus for locally heavy rain.

Water-covered streets and interstates were reported in parts of the Atlanta metro area Tuesday afternoon.

Florida was the first area to experience this influx of moisture, resulting in heavy downpours on Monday. The northern Gulf Coast will see heavy rain from Cindy through Thursday.

This heavy rain could eventually lead to life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding in some areas.

(LATEST NEWS: Tropical Storm Cindy Triggers Flooding Along Gulf Coast)

What To Know

  • The heaviest rain amounts are likely to be on the northern Gulf Coast, including parts of southeast Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.
  • This swath could see 6 to 9 inches or more of total rainfall by Thursday. Locally extreme rain amounts of 12-plus inches could occur in localized areas, according to the National Hurricane Center.
  • Life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding are both likely threats.
  • Other parts of the South, including the Florida Peninsula, will also see locally heavy rain at times this week due to the abundant moisture and stalling front. Heavy rain could occur as far west as southeast Texas through Thursday.
  • The rain could linger into Friday.
  • A high risk of rip currents is likely along parts of the Gulf Coast. High surf and some coastal flooding are also expected. Inundation of 1 to 3 feet above ground level is possible along the coast in the tropical storm warning area, with isolated areas possibly up to 4 feet.
  • Gusty winds are likely near parts of the northern Gulf Coast this week, particularly north and east of where the low tracks.
  • Isolated tornadoes are also possible through Wednesday from southern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.
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