|Above: Sydney Schultz takes photos of waves crashing next to Rollover Pass as Tropical Storm Cindy approaches the coast Wednesday, June 21, 2017 on the Bolivar Peninsula, Texas. (Michael Ciaglo /Houston Chronicle via AP)|
Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall near the Texas/Louisiana border at approximately 4 am EDT Thursday, June 22, as a minimal tropical storm with sustained winds of 40 mph and plenty of rain. Early Thursday morning, Cindy was headed north at 12 mph on a path that would take the storm inland over western Louisiana and eastern Texas. Cindy is the first named storm to hit Lousiana since Hurricane Isaac of 2012. However, a "no-name" tropical disturbance hit Louisiana in 2016, causing $10 - $15 billion in flooding damage.
|Figure 1. Radar image of Tropical Storm Cindy at 6:53 am EDT June 22, 2017, shortly after the time of landfall.|
As of 4 am CDT Thursday, the highest rainfall amount observed so far from Cindy was 8.50 inches in Wiggins, Mississippi. Gulfport-Biloxi Airport in Mississippi picked up 8.43 inches of rain in the 36 hours ending 4 a.m. CDT Thursday. In Florida, 8.25 inches in Navarre was the top total. Lake Charles, Louisiana, experienced flash flooding on Wednesday evening, with knee-deep water on some roads, along with on/off ramps under water. Wind gusts of 45 to 55 mph have been measured along the Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi coasts since Tuesday.
According to the Storm Prediction Center, there were three preliminary tornado reports from Cindy on June 21: two twisters near Biloxi, Mississippi, and one in Onycha, Alabama, just north of the Florida Panhandle. Weather.com reported that an additional tornado likely occurred on June 21 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, causing damage.
The maximum storm surge most areas saw Wednesday morning was 2 to 4 feet (mainly east of the Mississippi River), with a localized maximum of 6 feet at Shell Beach, Louisiana, according to storm surge scientist Hal Needham.
Figure 2. Tropical Storm Cindy as seen by NASA’s Terra satellite at 12:45 pm EDT June 21, 2017. At the time, Cindy had top winds of 50 mph. Image credit: NASA.
Forecast for Cindy
The forecast for Cindy is straightforward, with the storm expected to get steered by a trough of low pressure that will turn the storm to the north-northeast Thursday night, and to the northeast on Friday. This will take the center of the storm over southeastern Arkansas early Friday, and into Tennessee by Friday night. With the storm cut off from its source of energy--the warm ocean waters of the Gulf of Mexico--Cindy will likely decay to a remnant low on Thursday night. However, the storm will continue to be a hefty rainmaker, with widespread rain amounts of 3 – 6 inches likely along its track as far north as Kentucky. The threat of a few weak tornadoes also exists along the Gulf Coast on Thursday.
|Figure 3. Projected 5-day rainfall totals beginning at 8:00 am EDT Thursday, June 22, 2017. Cindy is expected to bring additional rainfall amounts of 3 – 6 inches along a corridor stretching from the Texas/Louisiana border to Kentucky. Image credit: NOAA/NWS Weather Prediction Center.|
A potential African wave to watch next week
The GFS model is predicting the potential development of a new tropical depression early next week in the far Eastern Atlantic, from a tropical wave expected to move off the coast of Africa on Sunday. Our other two reliable models for predicting tropical cyclone formation--the European and UKMET models--are not yet on board with this forecast, and NHC is currently not mentioning any potential for new Atlantic tropical cyclone formation in the coming five days.