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Cindy weakens as Gulf Coast prepares for tropical storm
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Map courtesy of NOAA
Tropical Storm Cindy is was located about 170 miles south-southwest of Morgan City, Louisiana and 180 miles southeast of Galveston, Texas Wednesday morning. The center of the storm is expected to approach the coast of southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas late today or tonight and move inland over southeastern Texas or southwestern Louisiana on Thursday.
Tropical Storm Cindy is on the move, making its way toward the coast of southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas, according to the latest news from the National Hurricane Center.

As of 11 a.m. Wednesday, the storm was located about 170 miles south-southwest of Morgan City, Louisiana and 180 miles southeast of Galveston, Texas. Maximum wind speeds were 50 mph, a decrease from 60 mph reported overnight.

On the current forecast track, the center of Cindy is expected to approach the coast of southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas late today or tonight and move inland over southeastern Texas or southwestern Louisiana on Thursday.

NHC warns that heavy rainfall could produce life-threatening flash flooding across portions of the northern Gulf Coast.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for San Luis Pass, Texas, to the mouth of the Mississippi River. Interests along the U.S. Gulf Coast from the central Texas coast to the western Florida Panhandle are advised to keep an eye on the storm.

Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 205 miles, mainly to the north and east of the center.

Cindy is expected to produce rainfall totals of 6 to 9 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches over southeastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama and western portions of the Florida Panhandle through Thursday and could cause life-threatening flash flooding.

Rainfall amounts of 3 to 5 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 7 inches can be expected farther west across western Louisiana and eastern Texas through Thursday. Rainfall is expected to spread northeastward across Arkansas and into portions of the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys through Friday, with total rain accumulations of 3 to 5 inches with locally higher amounts possible.

Storm surge of 1 to 3 feet above ground level is expected along the coast in portions of the tropical storm warning area. Surge of 1 to 3 feet above ground level is also possible elsewhere along the coast from southeastern Louisiana to the western Florida Panhandle in areas of strong onshore winds.

A few tornadoes are possible today through tonight from the western Florida Panhandle across southwest Alabama, southern Mississippi and southern Louisiana.

Potential for a busy season

The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a 45 percent chance that the 2017 hurricane season will have above-normal activity, a 35 percent chance of near-normal activity and a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season.

The seasonal Outlook calls for a 70 percent likelihood that 11-17 named storms will form this year with five-nine strengthening into hurricanes and two-four strengthening into a major hurricane.†An average season has 12 named storms with six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

The first storm of the season, Tropical Storm Arlene, formed over the eastern Atlantic in April. NHC issued its last advisory on Tropical Storm Bret Tuesday afternoon. Bret formed Monday afternoon about 125 miles southeast of Trinidad.

Evacuation map changes

Pinellas County Emergency Management officials are urging residents to prepare now with special attention being given to evacuation zones and storm surge models, which have changed.

Officials announced June 1 that 85,193 parcels have changed evacuation levels. Of that number, 74,688 parcels changed to a lower level, 10,505 changed to a higher level, and 19,882 changed from a non-evacuation zone to an evacuation zone.

Storm surge models also were updated. Homes in an E evacuation zone now have the risk of experiencing storm surge up to 35 feet, D zone up to 28 feet, C zone up to 20 feet, B zone up to 15 feet, and an A zone up to 15 feet.

Residents and visitors can check evacuation levels at†www.p­inell­ascou­nty.o­rg/kn­owyou­rzone, by using the storm surge protector web-based application available at†www.p­inell­acoun­ty.or­g†and via the interactive voice response system at 727-453-3150.

For more hurricane preparedness information, visit†www.p­inell­ascou­nty/e­merge­ncy†or call 727-464-3800.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from through Nov. 30.

Suzette Porter is TBNís Pinellas County editor. She can be reached at webmaster@tbnweekly.com.
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