Atmore braces for Cindy

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, July 6, 2005

By By Adam Prestridge
Alabama has been a magnet of sorts for tropical storms and hurricanes during the past 10 months.
According to Randy McKee, meteorologist in charge at the Mobile branch of the National Weather Service, Tropical Storm Cindy will be the next on the long list of storms that have threatened the state during that time.
Tropical Storm Cindy will dump several inches of rain on the Atmore area today and tonight as it travels north through the state. Early predictions indicate that the storm will be accompanied by winds that could reach as high as 40 mph.
Even though the exact location of where Cindy will make landfall had not been pinpointed at press time, McKee said it's inevitable that the storm will have affects on Alabama including the Atmore and Mobile areas.
"It looks like as Cindy makes landfall, whether it's along the mouth of the Mississippi River or the Mississippi coast, it looks like, as with most land falling storms, it will begin to take a more northeasterly track, in other words, a curve to the right," McKee said. "So no matter where she makes landfall, whether it's Mississippi or Louisiana south of New Orleans, it looks like the path after that time will take it across southwest Alabama and will begin to impact the Atmore area late Tuesday night and during the day tomorrow (Wednesday)."
Tropical Storm Cindy is not expected to be upgraded to a hurricane, but could gain some strength before making landfall late Tuesday evening.
"Right now we are getting reports of winds up to about 50 mph out in the Gulf and she may strengthen a little bit before landfall, but still you could have gusts up 30 or 40 mph during the day tomorrow (Wednesday). We could have some heavy rainfall, we could get up to five inches or so of rain over the next 24 to 36 hours and if it falls in the wrong spots, you could have some river flooding or flash flooding in the area. The wind damage we don't expect to be all that significant, but the heavy rains may cause some flood problems and we can't rule out the possibility of a few isolated tornadoes."
Late Monday night several published reports stated that the storm would follow a more western track, but throughout the day Tuesday, those reports shifted as the storm made its all too familiar turn in the Gulf. Although not official, McKee said Tuesday afternoon that if Cindy continued its turn, it would intensify the predictions for south Alabama.
"If it takes a little bit earlier turn to the right or the east it may skip the tip of Louisiana and head towards the Mississippi coast, which is bad for us because the worse weather is to the east and to the north of where the storm makes landfall, which puts Mobile and Atmore in a messy location," he said.
McKee believes that shift is likely.
"In this case, we just expect it to get some westerly winds that are kind of picking it up, so we expect a wind shift in the upper atmosphere that will steer it more towards the northeast," he said.
Fortunately, Cindy's stay in the Alabama won't be long. Checkout should be late tonight.
"It should move out of the area Wednesday night, so by Thursday conditions should be getting back to normal," McKee said. "During the day and during the night on Wednesday, it looks like the weather will be pretty nasty, not a hurricane, but still the winds will take down a few weakened trees and maybe some signs. We're going to have some minor to moderate wind damage."

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