Tropical Storm Cindy downgraded to tropical depression

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Tropical Storm Cindy downgraded to a tropical depression. (KTRK)

UPDATE AS OF 10:48 A.M.: Tropical Storm Cindy downgraded to tropical depression.

Cindy continues to weaken, but is still producing heavy rain.

Tropical Depression Cindy is about 165 miles northwest of Morgan City, Louisiana and moving North at 10 mph.

The Tropical Storm Warning from High Island, Texas to Morgan City, Louisiana has been discontinued, and there are no longer any coastal watches or warnings in effect due to Cindy.

Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph, with some higher gusts. Additional weakening is forecasted and the depression is expected to become a remnant low by Friday, if not sooner.

On the current forecast track, Cindy (or its remnants) will move into Arkansas, then Tennessee on Friday.

Feeder band from Cindy will continue to bring scattered showers to the Houston area today.

Heavier rain is expected across parts of East Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas.

While rainfall totals over the greater Houston area will likely remain between 1-4 inches, some areas affected by Cindy will see storm total rainfall amounts in excess of 15 inches.

Already blamed for one death in Alabama, Cindy was expected to keep churning seas and spin off bands of severe weather from eastern Texas to northwestern Florida.

The storm's maximum sustained winds had decreased to near 40 mph (64 kph) Thursday morning with additional weakening expected, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

A boy on an Alabama beach was struck and killed Wednesday by a log washed ashore by the storm. Baldwin County Sheriff's Capt. Stephen Arthur said witnesses reported the 10-year-old boy from Missouri was standing outside a condominium in Fort Morgan when the log, carried in by a large wave, struck him. Arthur said the youth was vacationing with his family from the St. Louis area and that relatives and emergency workers tried to revive him. He wasn't immediately identified.

It was the first known fatality from Cindy. Otherwise, the storm was blamed for widespread coastal highway flooding, rough seas and scattered reports of power outages and building damage caused by high winds. There were numerous reports of waterspouts and short-lived tornadoes spawned by the storm.

In Gulfport, Mississippi, Kathleen Bertucci said heavy rainfall Wednesday sent about 10 inches of water into her business, Top Shop, which sells and installs granite countertops.

"It's pretty disgusting, but I don't have flood insurance because they took me out of the flood zone," said Bertucci, whose store is near a bayou. "We're just trying to clean everything up and hope it doesn't happen again."

In nearby Biloxi, a waterspout moved ashore Wednesday morning. Harrison County Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy said there were no injuries but fences, trees and power lines were damaged.

Storms also downed trees in the Florida Panhandle. Fort Walton Beach spokeswoman Jo Soria said fallen trees hit houses and cars in what she called "pockets of wind damage" in two or three residential neighborhoods.

The White House said President Donald Trump was briefed on the storm Wednesday by Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency, like his Alabama counterpart a day earlier. He was among authorities stressing that the storm's danger wasn't limited to the coast.

In Knoxville, Tennessee, the power-generating Tennessee Valley Authority, said it was drawing down water levels on nine lakes it controls along the Tennessee River and its tributaries in Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky, anticipating heavy runoff from Cindy's rains once the storm moves inland. The TVA manages 49 dams to regulate water, provide power and help control downstream flooding.

In Alabama, streets were flooded and beaches were closed on the barrier island of Dauphin Island. Some roads were covered with water in the seafood village of Bayou La Batre, but Becca Caldemeyer still managed to get to her bait shop open at the city dock. If only there were more customers, she said.

"It's pretty quiet," Caldemeyer said by phone from Rough Water Bait and Tackle. "Nobody can cast a shrimp out in this kind of wind."

Some threats could be lurking in the flood waters, Alabama state officials warned: Floating colonies of fire ants could form in the gushing surge of water, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System said in a statement. The floating colonies of insects known as red imported fire ants may look like ribbons, streamers or a large ball of ants floating on the water, entomologists said.

Off the coast of Texas, rough seas also led to the rescue of a shrimp trawler in danger of sinking. 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. A helicopter crew lowered and extra pump that enabled the shrimp boat crew to clear enough water to stay afloat. A Coast Guard cutter escorted the vessel to Freeport, Texas.
VIDEO: Houston city leaders prepare for Tropical Storm Cindy
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Harris County and city leaders are ready for Tropical Storm Cindy.



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