The remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy brought tornadoes and flooding to the U.S. Gulf Coast on Thursday and its heavy rains will drench much of the eastern United States in coming days, forecasters said.
The storm system, which originated in the Gulf of Mexico, made landfall early Thursday and is affecting coastal communities in Louisiana and Texas.
Tropical storm force winds of 39 miles per hour or higher are expected closer to the coast, but Cindy is expected to gradually weaken as it tracks toward the ArkLaTex.
National Weather Service statistics show roughly 12 inches of rain had fallen in some spots along the Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida coasts since Tuesday.
The National Weather Service issued flood warnings for most of the southern two-thirds of the state, with more than 3 inches of rain falling in places by midday Friday and minor flooding expected along some rivers.
There is a slight risk of severe weather, primarily tornadoes, on Thursday.
Specifically, more sunshine will mix in with clouds, winds will be gusty out of the south-southwest, and temperatures will rise into the mid 80s with tropical humidity levels creating a heat index well into the 90s before storms come in.
Some rain also was in the forecast for Thursday, while expected strong thunderstorms Friday afternoon and evening could bring damaging wind gusts.
Remnants of Cindy could start being felt in the northeast on Friday, which could see scattered showers and thunderstorms and a muggy high near 83, the National Weather Service predicted.
At least 17 million people are under a tropical storm warning from San Luis Pass, Texas, to the Alabama-Florida border, said CNN meteorologist Michael Guy.
Cindy is the second tropical storm to form during the Atlantic hurricane season, which began June 1.
Several businesses in downtown Conway sustained extensive flood damage in a storm April 29 that drenched the area with heavy rains in a short period of time, prompting the city to take precautions ahead of Thursday's weather. A boy killed by debris in storm surf off Alabama was the only fatality reported so far in the storm, which spun off tornadoes and caused street flooding in many coastal areas. A Coast Guard cutter escorted the vessel to Freeport, Texas.
Francisco Sanchez is with emergency operations for Harris County. Harrison County Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy reported no injuries but said fences, trees and power lines were damaged. Urban flooding is also possible, according to the commission.
The weather service had issued tornado warnings earlier for the Birmingham and Tuscaloosa areas, and Gov. Kay Ivey had urged state residents to be alert for risky weather.