Thursday, June 22, 2017

Reports: Voluntary evacuations ordered amid Cindy’s flooding in Louisiana; Tornado strikes near Birmingham, Alabama

By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer
By Ashley Williams, AccuWeather staff writer
June 22,2017, 7:53:29PM,EDT
 As of 5:45 p.m. CDT Thursday, this story is no longer being updated.

Cindy made landfall early Thursday morning along the border of Texas and Louisiana as a tropical storm, but was later downgraded to a depression shortly before 10 a.m. CDT.
The storm, which has been impacting Gulf Coast states with heavy rain since early in the week, will continue to be threatening with severe weather, life-threatening flooding and rip currents from Texas to Florida into Thursday.
Emergency officials continue to stress the importance of avoiding flooded roadways because as little as 6 inches of water can knock a person down.

Cindy’s major flood threat to persist as storm unleashes up to a foot of rain
Officials declare states of emergency as flooding from Tropical Storm Cindy inundates South
Cindy may spawn more tornadoes, severe weather from Louisiana to Florida

The tornado that touched down near Fairfield, Alabama on Thursday afternoon has been given a rating of EF-2. This means that winds were between 111 mph and 135 mph.
The National Weather Service may adjust this rating as more storm surveys are planned for Friday.

At least five people were injured in Fairfield, Alabama earlier today when a tornado-warned thunderstorm moved through the town, according to WVTM. This is an increase from the one injury that was reported earlier in the day by Alabama ABC.
Four of the five people were transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Cindy continues to spawn severe thunderstorms from Louisiana to Georgia with some of these storms capable of producing tornadoes.
At 3:27 p.m. CDT Thursday, one of these storms was located just north of Atlanta.

An employee of an Alabama ABC store in Fairfield, Alabama, located near near Birmingham, was injured during a “weather-related event” early on Thursday afternoon, according to the board’s Facebook page.
The person was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Four other employees were in the store when it occurred, but they were not injured. The building also suffered major damage.
There were confirmed reports of a tornado in the area around the time that the damage was reported.
Possible cindy tornado damage
Possible tornado damage to an ABC store in Fairfield, Alabama. (Photo/Twitter user @FelippeSax)

The National Weather Service (NWS) has confirmed a tornado touched down near Forestdale and Birmingham, Alabama.
Trained weather spotters in the area initially confirmed the tornado at 12:42 p.m. CDT Wednesday.

The rising tide triggered by Cindy has prompted Mayor Timothy Kerner to issue a voluntary evacuation for residents of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.

No roads are closed at this time, according to the press release.
Some residents in Jean Lafitte have experienced flooding near their homes.

Alabama’s WKRG-TV has reported that Cindy’s first known victim, a 10-year-old boy from Missouri, has been identified.
Nolan McCabe was vacationing with his family in Fort Morgan, Alabama, when a large log killed him, according to the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey tweeted condolences to the victim’s family.

Alabama state authorities have warned that severe flooding left behind by Tropical Depression Cindy could carry the threat of floating fire ant colonies.
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System has advised people to be aware of the potentially life-threatening ants, which can appear to be ribbons, streamers or large balls in the water.
Fire ant bites can cause serious health problems, particularly for those with allergies.

The downgraded Tropical Depression Cindy could pose an elevated risk for possible tornadoes through Thursday afternoon, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist David Samuhel.
“The highest tornado threat will be across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle,” Samuhel said.
A band of heavy rain midday may cause flash floods stretching from southern Mississippi and Alabama northward through western Alabama over the next few hours, according to Samuhel.
Flash flooding is also likely in parts of Louisiana, despite the lack of warnings in those areas, he said.

Flooding has caused numerous road closures throughout southern Alabama.

Outer bands from Cindy are unleashing wind and rain to coastal areas where rough surf persists. The below video is from Orange Beach, Alabama.

Cindy has weakened to a tropical depression as it continues to move inland. However, the system will still bring a risk of flooding through the weekend to parts of the Mississippi Valley and Ohio Valley.
Static Cindy Track 11 am
Static Cindy Inland Flood Threat Friday to Sat AM

According to the Associated Press, Florida officials are urging swimmers not to ignore double-red flags flying at beaches along the state’s Panhandle and the Gulf of Mexico.
The flags warn of dangerous and potentially deadly conditions as well as rough surf.
Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said he responded to 37 calls regarding people swimming in the Gulf on Tuesday after Cindy brought heavy downpours into the area.
A log washed in by storm surge killed a 10-year-old boy Wednesday along Alabama’s coast.

As of 7:19 a.m. CDT Wednesday, the Styx River near Elsanor, Alabama, is forecast to crest just below major flood stage at 16.7 feet today.
river flooding

Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall in the early morning hours on Thursday between Cameron, Louisiana, and Port Arthur, Texas, according to radar.

High water is reported near Nederland, Texas, just south of Beaumont, according to a storm chaser on social media.
View image on Twitter
Highwater located on US 69 Access Rd and Nederland Ave.

As of 10:30 p.m. CDT Wednesday, Lake Charles, Louisiana has received 2.47 inches of rain since 4 p.m. Much of the state remains under a tropical storm warning.
A flash flood warning is in place for Jefferson County and southwestern Orange County in Texas, including the city of Beaumont.

As of 8:50 p.m. CDT Wednesday, downed trees and blocked roads were reported along highways 154 and 84 in Clarke County, Alabama.

State offices in Louisiana are already being closed for Thursday. Gov. John Bel Edwards announced some of the closures on Twitter on Wednesday evening.

At 7:10 p.m. CDT Wednesday, a confirmed tornado was located near Onycha, Alabama, and was moving north. The tornado was confirmed by law enforcement and public sources.
More tornadoes and waterspouts are possible from southern Louisiana through the Florida Panhandle into Wednesday night as rain and thunderstorms associated with Tropical Storm Cindy move through the area.

A band of heavy rain is slowly shifting from southwestern Louisiana into eastern Texas. This rain has a history of producing flooding around Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Those traveling along I-10 between Lake Charles and Houston should expect delays as the rain may slow traffic and possibly cause portions of the road to flood.
Lake Charles radar

Multiple waterspouts have been spotted along the Gulf Coast today with thunderstorms associated with Tropical Storm Cindy. A few of these have made landfall, becoming tornadoes.
FL waterspout
A waterspout near Okaloosa Island, Florida on Wednesday afternoon. (Photo/Twitter user @chief_salvaggio)

Many coastal areas are also experiencing flooding from heavy rain and high surf, including along Highway 90 near Gulfport, Mississippi.
Emergency managers near Lumberton, Mississippi, have also reported multiple roads are impassible due to high water.
LA flooding cindy
LA 1 south of the Golden Meadow (Photo/Louisiana State Police)

As of 2:30 p.m. CDT Wednesday, two thunderstorms associated with Cindy were capable of producing tornadoes.
One of the storms was located in the Florida panhandle northeast of Pensacola while the other was southeast of Mobile, Alabama.
Tornado Warning including Daphne AL, Fairhope AL, Foley AL until 3:15 PM CDT

Officials have confirmed that the 10-year-old boy that died earlier today lost his life after being struck by a log that was washed in by storm surge.
The boy was on vacation with his family and was from Missouri, but his identity has not been released.

The threats of high tides, rip currents and coastal flooding have prompted the Padre Island National Seashore in Corpus Christi, Texas, to close its beaches to drivers and swimmers.

The American Red Cross is preparing emergency response in six states as Tropical Storm Cindy carries the threat of severe and dangerous flooding to the Gulf Coast. 
Red Cross volunteers, supplies and shelters will be in place in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Tennessee and Georgia as Cindy approaches land.
The latest on response to Tropical Storm Cindy and how to prepare: 

WKRG-TV in Mobile, Alabama, has reported that a 10-year-old boy is the first fatality related to Tropical Storm Cindy.
According to the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office, the child died as a result of a weather-related incident.
Chuck Tonini, a 911 operator, tweeted that strong winds forced an object to fall on top of the boy.
Tonini also wrote on Twitter that emergency responders are currently at the scene.
@spann Large emergency response on Ponce de Leon at Fort Morgan. Neighbors say wind blew a large object and it toppled onto a child. :(

Bloomberg has reported that vessel offloading services at the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port in the Gulf of Mexico are on hold due to Tropical Storm Cindy’s impacts.
The storm has also impacted evacuations at oil rigs and platforms.
Cindy has also triggered warnings at Galveston Bay, which is where the only active liquefied natural gas export terminal in the lower 48 states is located, according to Bloomberg.

Ahead of making landfall, Tropical Storm Cindy’s downpours over southern Mississippi have prompted officials to close off flooded roads to the public.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS) in New Orleans, the Mississippi coast will be drenched with up to 6 inches of rain on Wednesday.
At 11:05 a.m. CDT Wednesday, the Mississippi Department of Transportation tweeted an update to current road closures.

AccuWeather extreme meteorologist Reed Timmer posted this time-lapse video of storm clouds approaching the southern Louisiana coast near the town of Waveland shortly after 10 a.m. CDT Wednesday.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a statewide state of emergency declaration Wednesday morning as preparations for severe flooding were underway.
“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,” said Edwards.
The city of Sulphur, Louisiana, announced that offices would be closed at noon CDT on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey also declared a statewide state of emergency.

There have been multiple reports of tornadoes and waterspouts along the Mississippi coast throughout Wednesday morning.
cindy waterspout
A waterspout was spotted near Biloxi, Mississippi, Wednesday morning. (Photo/National Weather Service New Orleans)

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