Forecasters expanded a Tropical Storm Warning Tuesday to include part of the upper Texas coast as Tropical Storm Cindy churns in the Gulf of Mexico.
The tropical storm formed Tuesday afternoon. The Warning now covers an area from High Island in Texas to the mouth of the Pearl River between Louisiana and Mississippi.
A tropical storm watch is also in effect on the upper Texas coast from west of High Island to San Luis Pass.
The National Weather Service also says the biggest threat from the disturbance is the likely rain over vast areas of the northern rim of the Gulf of Mexico.
The storm was centered about 265 miles south of Morgan City, La., or about 355 miles southeast of Galveston.
Cindy has top sustained winds of 45 mph, and the storm was stationary in the Gulf Tuesday afternoon. Forecasters say Cindy acquired a well-defined center on Tuesday afternoon and became the third tropical storm of 2017.
Forecasters say Cindy is expected to reach the Louisiana coast sometime late Wednesday and then move inland to western Louisiana and eastern Texas on Thursday.
Forecasters say rain totaling 6 to 9 inches in areas and as much as 12 inches in some spots pose a threat to southern portions of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle through Thursday.
Coastal residents were already feeling the effects of the system Tuesday. Police say residents reported flooding on Dauphin Island south of Mobile, Ala. Water partially covered the main road leading to the island’s narrow western end, and the city is moving vehicles and equipment to higher ground.
Red flags were flying on the main public beach in Gulf Shores, Ala., as a warning for people to stay out of the water. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency Tuesday morning because of the flooding threat. Bands of heavy rain are coming through as far east as the Florida Panhandle.
Meanwhile Tuesday, Tropical Storm Bret was moving along South America’s northern coast with maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph with weakening expected to begin later in the day.