Heavy rain, winds, tornado warnings as Cindy heads inland


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — High tides in the wake of a weakening Tropical Depression Cindy prompted a voluntary evacuation in a coastal Louisiana town today, and the storm's effects were being felt throughout the Southeast, with intermittent bands of heavy rain, blasts of high wind and periodic warnings of possible tornadoes in multiple states.

In Alabama, where Gov. Kay Ivey urged residents to stay alert for dangerous weather, two tornado warnings were issued in the Birmingham and Tuscaloosa areas. Social media showed photographs of what appeared to be a funnel cloud near Birmingham. Earlier, authorities had issued warnings of possible tornadoes in Louisiana and Mississippi.

In the low-lying Louisiana town of Lafitte, south of New Orleans, Mayor Tim Kerner urged residents in and around the town to seek higher ground because of rising water.

"The tide's rolling in. It's getting to a dangerous level," Kerner said. Streets and yards in the town were covered and Kerner worried that homes, even those in parts of town protected by levees, might be flooded. "I'm hoping not," he added.

Cindy moved ashore as a tropical storm near the Louisiana-Texas line early Thursday and continued to pull Gulf moisture inland as it moved north toward Arkansas while weakening to a depression by mid-morning.

"Certainly it's not been as bad as we feared. That's the good news, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in Baton Rouge. "The bad news is it's not over yet."

As a slow-moving tropical storm that formed Tuesday in the Gulf, Cindy was blamed for one death: authorities said a 10-year-old Missouri boy vacationing with relatives on the Alabama coast who was struck by a log washed in by a large wave.

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