Published: Thu, June 22, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

Alabama warns of floating fire ants in floods

"...(the) center of Cindy crossed the coast between Cameron, Louisiana and Port Arthur, Texas an hour or two ago", according to the National Hurricane Center.

Roughly 10 months ago, a slow-moving unnamed system caused widespread flooding in Baton Rouge and in other parts of southeast Louisiana, where many residents and businesses continue to recover from the devastation.

Tropical Storm Cindy has formed in the Gulf of Mexico and is threatening to spread heavy rain across a wide area of the central Gulf coast.

Cindy is expected to produce rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches over eastern Texas, western and central Louisiana and southern and eastern Arkansas through Friday morning with some spots getting as much as 12 inches of rain.

Floating colonies of fire ants could form in flood waters as Tropical Storm Cindy moves inland.

NHC said it expected the storm to turn toward the north-northwest and then toward the north Wednesday night and Thursday. At worst, the storm could flood neighborhoods outside the city's levee system and cause flash flooding even in protected areas.

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Earlier, the storm turned deadly in Alabama when a 10-year-old boy was killed by a log that was washed onto shore by a large wave, officials said.

Arthur said the child was vacationing with his family from the St. Louis, Missouri, area. "The wave hit the log knocking the log into and over his son".

But the heavy rains were on its east side, meaning the major rain threat - perhaps a foot or more of rain by Thursday - stretched from southeastern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle. The lakes are Fort Loudoun, Watts Bar, Chickamauga, Nickajack, Guntersville, Wheeler, Wilson, Pickwick and Kentucky. The U.S. Coast Guard said crew of the trawler Footprint was about 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of Galveston when the crew radioed that the vessel was taking on water faster than onboard pumps could clear it.

The Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport has reported more than 7 inches (180 mms) of rain since Tuesday morning.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30. The season got an early start with Tropical Storm Arlene in April.

State offices in five regions of Louisiana remained closed Thursday.

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The boy was hit in the head by the log, resulting in severe facial injuries, including a crushed skull.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, like his Alabama counterpart a day earlier, declared a state of emergency Wednesday.

Forecasters say the Alabama and MS coasts could be inundated with as much as 15 inches (38 centimeters) of rain from a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered the State Operations Center to raise its readiness level.

Locally, the city-parish has made sandbags available for residents who need them. The state said the Federal Emergency Management Agency was moving 125,000 meals and 200,000 liters of water into Louisiana.

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