Cindy could create 3-foot storm surge near Gulf

The governor's spokesman Richard Carbo said Edwards signed the statewide declaration Wednesday morning.

The already disorganized Cindy will begin to fall apart more, but it could bring weekend rain to the Triangle region.

There were also reports of voluntary evacuations from some coastal communities in Texas, including the Bolivar Peninsula in Galveston County, which is close to where the storm is expected to hit land.

A tornado watch is now in effect for most of the area until 10 AM Wednesday. There will be waves of tropical showers and storms that produce heavy downpours along with some bands setting up over the area, but it will not rain consistently all day.

Tropical tornadoes move very fast.

To be clear, the risk to New Orleans, a city that's mostly below sea level, is not the kind of threat posed by a major hurricane - as seen by the catastrophic Katrina in 2005, which breached the city's levees and put 80 percent of the city under water, some of it 15 feet deep - but the area had seen about 3 to 5 inches of rain so far, and was expecting another 3 to 6 inches through Thursday, the weather service said. Tornado warnings were also issued for Hancock County, MS.

A tornado watch covered the entire coast from southwestern Louisiana to near the Big Bend region of Florida.

Mobile and Baldwin Counties have canceled all summer school activities today, due to rapidly deteriorating road conditions.

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As of 7 a.m. CDT Wednesday, the storm was centered about 165 miles (265 kilometers) south-southwest of Morgan City, Louisiana, and is moving northwest near 8 mph (13 kph).

Cindy's maximum sustained winds were near 60 miles per hour (96 kph) Wednesday morning with slight weakening expected to begin Thursday.

Forecasters in Louisiana say Tropical Storm Cindy will bring the potential for a storm surge of up to 3 feet (0.91 meters) along the Gulf Coast.

For state officials in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas their greatest concern is flooding.

Rain bands began pushing ashore Tuesday even before the system reached tropical storm strength.

Residents and officials along a stretch of the Gulf Coast from the Florida panhandle to eastern Texas are keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Cindy. That prompted a lot of questions as to why this disturbance wasn't named and considered a tropical storm sooner. It's expected to move slowly toward the Louisiana-Texas line.

Heavy rains and wind could disrupt oil supplies at the refineries and energy ports in Port Arthur, Texas and Lake Charles, Louisiana where large oil refining and chemical export operations are located, which could drive up gasoline prices. And the National Weather Service says it poses a threat of unsafe flash flooding.

"It's not wind, it's rain we're concerned about", said Greg Flynn with the Mississippi Emergency Management Service.

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