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The Latest: Florida sheriff says stay out of the water

CINDY062217 CINDY062217 |  Photo: AP

June 22, 2017 07:26 AM

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

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8:10 a.m.

Authorities in Florida are urging people to stay off the beaches and out of the Gulf of Mexico until weather conditions brought by Tropical Storm Cindy improve.

Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford tells the News Herald deputies responded to 37 calls regarding swimmers in the Gulf on Tuesday as the storm brought heavy rain to Florida's Panhandle.

The swimmers entered the water even though Panama City Beach was flying double-red flags, warning of dangerous conditions and extremely rough surf. Ford says lifeguards and deputies were fed up as tourists entered the water in spite of the warnings.

There's a law that bans swimming in the Gulf when double-red flags are flying. Ford says he'd rather people use common sense and not get in the water.

There were no reports of injuries.

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8 a.m.

In southwest Louisiana, not far from where Tropical Storm Cindy came ashore before dawn, motorists in trucks were driving through knee-high water in the streets.

Some other drivers, though, were pulling over Thursday morning and not attempting to navigate the flooded roads in Cameron Parish, Louisiana.

Shortly after dawn, some of the low-lying clouds were rotating, and gusty winds whipped across the landscape.

With the storm now over land, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said it's expected to weaken over the next two days.

The storm was blamed for one death Wednesday: A 10-year-old boy from the St. Louis area was killed on an Alabama beach when he was struck by a log that washed ashore.

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7:15 a.m.

Tropical Storm Cindy has brought heavy winds and rain to southeast Texas but minimal damage as the storm system moves northeast.

Street and other flooding was reported in places such as Port Arthur, along Sabine Pass and the border with Louisiana, where Cindy made landfall early Thursday.

Winds in the Galveston County town of San Leon exceeded 50 mph but were slightly weaker along other parts of the Texas coast southeast of Houston.

The Houston area was expected to get a couple inches of rain through Thursday. A flash flood watch was issued for parts of East Texas.

The Texas Department of Transportation says all state roads and bridges are open in the area.

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7 a.m.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Cindy is expected to weaken as it moves farther inland after coming ashore in southwestern Louisiana early Thursday.

The storm's maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph (64 kph) and it's expected to weaken to a tropical depression later in the morning and become a remnant low Thursday night.

As of 7 a.m. CDT, Cindy is centered about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northwest of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and is moving north near 12 mph (19 kph).

Already, the storm has been blamed for one death Wednesday: A 10-year-old boy from the St. Louis area was killed on an Alabama beach when he was struck by a log that washed ashore.

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6 a.m.

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

That's the warning from Alabama state officials, who say the insects known as red imported fire ants can present a potentially serious health threat to people and animals during severe flooding.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System said in a statement that the floating colonies may look like ribbons, streamers or a large ball of ants floating on the water.

They say the floating blobs contain all members of the colony, including worker ants, winged reproductive males and females, and queen ants.

The storm made landfall in southwestern Louisiana before dawn Thursday, bringing rain and the threat of flash flooding and tornadoes.

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4:05 a.m.

Tropical Storm Cindy has made landfall in southwestern Louisiana, bringing rain and the threat of flash flooding and tornadoes.

As of about 4 a.m. CDT Thursday, the storm was centered about 30 miles (48 kilometers) west-southwest of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and is moving north near 12 mph (19 kph).

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Cindy's maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 40 mph (64 kph) with continued weakening expected over the next two days.

Already, the storm has been blamed for one death Wednesday: A 10-year-old boy from the St. Louis area was killed on an Alabama beach when he was struck by a log that washed ashore.

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2:05 a.m.

Weather forecasters are expecting a third day of rough weather for Gulf Coast states as Tropical Storm Cindy approaches.

The storm was blamed for one death Wednesday: A 10-year-old boy from the St. Louis area was killed on an Alabama beach when he was struck by a log that washed ashore.

In addition to bands of drenching rain, the storm brought high winds and numerous, short-lived tornadoes and waterspouts. Most of the severe weather was to the east of the storm.

Numerous coastal roads and highways flooded and there were scattered reports of power outages and building damage from wind or water.

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Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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