NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Tropical Storm Cindy isn’t expected to make landfall for another 24 hours but the storm is already drenching the Gulf Coast and whipping up winds.
Millions of people in the storm’s path are experiencing heavy rain and dangerous flash flooding.
In Georgia, heavy downpours caused flash flooding, leaving people trapped.
“We tried to get in the cars and drive out, it didn’t happen,” one man said.
The National Weather Service issued flash flood watches from southeast Texas to Florida. Some areas could receive more than a foot of rain.
“We’re gonna prepare for the worst in case we get that 10 inches of rain,” Ken Graham of the National Weather Service said. “We’ll have have some flooding.”
On Wednesday morning, a driver captured a water spout in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Another one was spotted near Biloxi.
In Florida, powerful winds knocked down trees and peeled away roofs.
Cindy is expected to make landfall between southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana sometime Thursday with a possible three-foot storm surge.
In New Orleans, crews trucked sandbags to flood prone neighborhoods.
Louisiana’s governor has already declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm. On Tuesday, four inches of rain had already fallen in New Orleans, but by Wednesday the National Weather Service lifted a tropical storm warning although the city remains in the danger zone.
“There is still the potential for heavy bands of rain to hit us tonight that would cause flooding,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said.
Many areas from Texas to Florida could see another 8 inches of rain before it’s all over. That’s one reason the governor of Louisiana declared a state of emergency.
“Just because you don’t see your area in the cone as the storm approaches, don’t take this lightly,” Go. John Bel Edwards said.
Near the Texas-Louisiana border, vacationers are keeping a watchful eye on the approaching threat.
“I think we’re just going to ride it out and see how everything goes,” said tourist Crystal Moneaux. “I think we’ll be all right.”
Officials believe Cindy could have a major impact along a 500 mile swath of the Gulf Coast.
As the storm makes landfall, cities as far north as Nashville and Memphis could see up to five inches of rain.