NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Latest on Tropical Storm Cindy (all times local):

7:25 a.m.

Much of Florida's Panhandle remains under a tornado watch as Tropical Storm Cindy looms in the Gulf of Mexico.

Officials in Santa Rosa County, which is just east of Pensacola, tweeted that some roads were under water early Wednesday. They urged motorists to use caution if they are driving in the southern end of the county.

News outlets also reported several roads in neighboring Escambia County have been closed due to flooding.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for much of the region until 10 a.m. Wednesday. Forecasters say the area can expect heavy rain through Thursday as the tropical storm moves through Louisiana and Texas.


7:15 a.m.

Tropical Storm Cindy is creating the threat of tornadoes along the northern Gulf Coast.

The National Weather Service says flash flooding from torrential rain is the main problem associated with the storm, but twisters are also possible.

Forecasters issued tornado warnings for the areas around Fort Walton Beach and Indian Pass in Florida after radar indicated possible tornadoes Wednesday morning.

A tornado watch covered the entire coast from southwestern Louisiana to near the Big Bend region of Florida.

Alabama's main beaches are mostly empty as Cindy blows offshore, and Baldwin and Mobile counties canceled summer classes because of the storm.


7:10 a.m.

Tropical Storm Cindy is moving closer to the Gulf Coast, where it threatens to bring a storm surge of up to 3 feet (0.91 meters).

As of 7 a.m. CDT Wednesday, the storm was centered about 165 miles (265 kilometers) south-southwest of Morgan City, Louisiana, and is moving northwest near 8 mph (13 kph). The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Cindy is expected to approach the coast of southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas late Wednesday or Wednesday night and move inland Thursday.

The storm's maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph (96 kph).

The National Weather Service said early Wednesday that flash flood watches covered parts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.


7 a.m.

Forecasters in Louisiana say Tropical Storm Cindy will bring the potential for a storm surge of up to 3 feet (0.91 meters) along the Gulf Coast.

The National Weather Service said early Wednesday that flash flood watches covered parts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia as the storm trudged closer to the U.S. mainland.

The weather service has warned that the storm brings the threat of "life-threatening flash flooding."

Rain bands began pushing ashore Tuesday even before the system reached tropical storm strength. It was stationary much of the day Tuesday but was on a lumbering track that would take its center toward southwestern Louisiana and eastern Texas by Wednesday morning.

But the heavy rains were on its east side, meaning the major rain threat stretched from southeastern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.


4:20 a.m.

Residents and officials along a stretch of the Gulf Coast from the Florida panhandle to eastern Texas are keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Cindy.

The storm formed Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico. It's expected to move slowly toward the Louisiana-Texas line. But the heaviest rain bands were to the east. And the National Weather Service says it poses a threat of dangerous flash flooding.

Forecasters say some areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida could see a foot of rain.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency Tuesday because of the threat of torrential dangerous high tides and rip currents. Other state and local officials along the coast were mulling similar declarations.

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