Tropical Storm Cindy downgraded to tropical depression

The National Weather Service forecasts heavy rain across West Virginia starting late Thursday from Tropical Storm Cindy until a cold front begins pushing through Friday night and early Saturday.

The severe weather was arriving on the anniversary of torrential rains and flooding that left 23 people dead in West Virginia past year.

As a slow-moving tropical storm that formed Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico, Cindy was blamed for one death: authorities said a 10-year-old boy vacationing with relatives on the Alabama coast was struck by a log brought in by the stormy surf.

Severe weather is not expected this weekend, and forecasters Friday morning stated the threat of hazardous weather is low through Thursday.

The center circulation of the remnants of TS Cindy are exiting the Arkansas forecast area to the east this morning.

As the storm moves northwest, the Gulf Coast will continue seeing heavy rains, winds of 40-50 miles per hour and increased moisture, CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said.

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The flash flood watch is in effect from 7 p.m. Thursday through Friday afternoon.

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

"Regardless it is the rain, if anything we have to watch out for with (Tropical Storm) Cindy", meteorologist Matt Devitt said. Rain and storm chances increase to 40-50%, some storms could produce heavy downpours and gusty winds. He said the Escatawpa River, at 15 feet (4.5 metres ), would typically be lower than 3 feet (1 metre ) at this time of year.

Emergency crews helped some people from stranded vehicles in Muncie, including a almost submerged SUV at a railroad underpass.

Parts of southeastern Louisiana, southern MS, southern Alabama and western portions of the Florida Panhandle were under tornado warnings and some saw streets covered in up to 3 feet of water.

High winds early Friday peeled off part of the roof from New Prairie High School near South Bend. Cindy also caused widespread coastal highway and street flooding and several short-lived tornadoes, but no other deaths.

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There were no reports of injuries.

The weather service did a preliminary survey of damage immediately following the Jefferson County tornado and gave it a rating of EF-2 with estimated maximum winds of 120 miles per hour. Moderate to heavy rain fell hundreds of miles away, throughout much of the Southeast and as far north as southern IL and Indiana.

Still, the storm barely registered attention for some.

Heavy rain was forecast to spread over the Tennessee and OH valleys on Thursday, then move Friday and Saturday into the central Appalachians.

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.

But she saw no damage in her neighborhood and thought hype in advance was due to officials feeling it was better people were overprepared than underprepared.

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Workers on Grand Isle, Louisiana's barrier island community south of New Orleans, worked to reinforce a rock levee protecting the island's vulnerable west side.

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