Tropical Storm Cindy expected to weaken as it moves farther inla - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

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Tropical Storm Cindy expected to weaken as it moves farther inland

7 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center on Tropical Storm Cindy (Source: WAFB) 7 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center on Tropical Storm Cindy (Source: WAFB)
The area is under a slight risk of severe weather. (Source: WAFB) The area is under a slight risk of severe weather. (Source: WAFB)
A tornado watch remains in effect until 7 p.m. (Source: WAFB) A tornado watch remains in effect until 7 p.m. (Source: WAFB)

Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall in Cameron Parish in southwest Louisiana early Thursday morning and is expected to weaken as it moves farther inland throughout the day.

Cindy had sustained winds of 40 mph at landfall around 2 a.m. It is the first tropical system to make landfall in Louisiana since Hurricane Isaac in 2012. That ends a very rare drought of tropical activity for the Bayou State.

As of the 7 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center, the center of circulation was located at 30.5 North, 93.7 West, or about 40 miles northwest of Lake Charles. Maximum sustained winds were still at 40 mph and it was moving north at 12 mph.

Forecaster Jeff Morrow said the WAFB viewing area will still feel the impacts of Cindy as it continues to move inland Thursday along the Louisiana-Texas border. Heavy rain and the threat for tornadoes will continue through the day. A Flash Flood Watch remains in effect until 7 p.m. A Tornado Watch remains in effect until 1 p.m. Rain bands associated with Cindy will continue to move through southeast Louisiana. Coverage won’t be very widespread, so Thursday won’t be all wet. If you do find yourself under one of these rain bands, then you should expect heavy rain. The forecast shows 1" to 3” of additional rainfall will be possible Thursday. That should limit flooding threats to nuisance street flooding.

We continue to see high water levels on the southern reaches of the Amite, Tickfaw, and Tangipahoa rivers due to the persistent south and southeast wind, which is not expected to end until the weekend. Upstream river flooding is not anticipated due to manageable rainfall totals in the watershed.

Cindy is expected to lose strength as the day goes on, but is already blamed for at least one death.

The tornado watch is in effect for Ascension, Assumption, Avoyelles, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Lafourche, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St. Mary, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana parishes. The watch includes Amite, Pike, and Wilkinson counties in Mississippi.

Most of the WAFB viewing area had the advantage of being in the dry slot of circulation around Tropical Storm Cindy on Wednesday and that resulted in a much-appreciated reduction in our forecast rain totals for the event. However, individual thunderstorms within the passing rain bands are still capable of brief, intense downpours and officials warn that the worst is not over yet. 

"We continue to take this storm very seriously, we urge everyone in Louisiana to do the same," said Gov. John Bel Edwards during a press conference Wednesday. “Prepare for the worst while hope and pray for the best.”

RELATED: WAFB Hurricane Tracking Center

The WAFB First Alert Weather Team explained that dry air was pulled into the storm on its south and eastern flank, which helped to weaken the storm early Wednesday morning. The dry air has reduced - but not totally eliminated - the flood threat across the WAFB viewing area and a FLASH FLOOD WATCH remains in effect. 

"We are now thinking that rainfall estimates will run something closer to a 2" to 4" range for much of the viewing area for the next 48 hours: nearly half of what we feared just 24 hours ago," WAFB Chief Meteorologist Jay Grymes explained Wednesday. "However, isolated higher totals are sure to be reported especially for areas caught under persistent rain bands over the next 24 to 36 hours."  

Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency Wednesday morning for Louisiana as a result of Tropical Storm Cindy. He said the declaration was made in response to the flash flooding and severe weather caused by the tropical system. 

"We cannot stress the importance of avoiding high water," Edwards noted. "Last year, most of the injuries and some deaths were people in high water."

RELATED: Sandbags available in advance of potential flooding

An emergency declaration must must be made by the governor before the state can apply for any federal assistance. The declaration includes includes 20 parishes and six more are expected to be added. 

"I’m concerned about people all over the state. While the storm is not a hurricane, and some people will not take this storm as seriously as they should. That’s why I mention we had record rainfall last year," Edwards added.

During the press conference, La. National Guard Major Gen. Glenn H. Curtis noted that 100 high water vehicles have been pre-staged, as well as 33 boats, 200 additional high water vehicle and 50 more boats if needed. Four helicopters are on standby for search and rescue.

The National Hurricane Center discontinued the TROPICAL STORM WARNING north and east of the mouth of the Mississippi River, including Metro New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain. The TROPICAL STORM WARNING remains in effect from San Luis Pass, Texas, to Grand Isle.

The NHC upgraded the low to Tropical Storm Cindy on Tuesday.

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