July 5, 2005

Tropical Storm Cindy churns through Gulf of Mexico

MIAMI (Reuters) - The third tropical storm of the Atlantichurricane season rumbled north through the Gulf of Mexico onTuesday, heading toward the Louisiana coast with high winds andheavy rain.

The storm strengthened into tropical storm status overnightand had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (64 kph), accordingto the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Tropical Storm Cindywas likely to dump up to 6 inches (15 cm) of rain on thecentral Gulf coast, with as much as 10 inches (25 cm) inisolated areas.

On its current track, the storm's center was likely to headover the Louisiana or Mississippi coast late on Tuesday or inthe early hours of Wednesday.

At 5 a.m. EDT (0900 GMT), the center of Cindy was atlatitude 25.6 north, longitude 90.4 west or about 255 milessouth-southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River, thehurricane center said. It was heading north-northwest at about14 mph (23 kph).

Storm warnings were issued for a stretch of the Gulf Coastfrom Intracoastal City, Louisiana, to Pascagoula, Mississippi.