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Tropical Storm Cindy makes landfall in Louisiana

LAKE CHARLES, La. — Tropical storm Cindy made landfall Thursday in southwestern Louisiana, bringing heavy rain and powerful winds to the already soaked Gulf Coast.

The center of the storm hit just south of Lake Charles, Louisiana, the National Weather Center’s Hurricane Center said.

Heavy downpours are expected Thursday in east Texas, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.

More than 6 million people remain under tornado watches, which cover New Orleans and points north into central Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

As the storm moves northwest, the Gulf Coast will continue to experience potentially dangerous flooding and winds of 40 to 50 mph,.

Cindy is expected to produce 3 to 6 inches of rain, with as much as 12 inches in some places, through Friday morning, the National Hurricane Center said.

Cindy is expected to weaken Thursday into a tropical depression.

Over the coming days, the cold front will push the remnants of the storm east and will help dump more rain over the Tennessee and Mississippi Valley.

The storm has put millions of residents under high alert of “life-threatening flash flooding” since Tuesday and already has claimed at least one life.

A 10-year-old boy from Missouri died Wednesday after he was struck by a log outside a beachfront condo in Fort Morgan, Alabama, the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office said.

“The boy’s father was outside but several feet away attending other children and noticed a huge wave was coming ashore heading toward the log and his son,” Capt. S.K. Arthur said. “The wave hit the log knocking the log into and over his son.”

Parts of southern Alabama, southern Mississippi, southeastern Louisiana and western portions of the Florida Panhandle already have seen streets covered in up to 3 feet of water.

Cindy is the second tropical storm to form during the Atlantic hurricane season, which began June 1. It’s the third storm of the season, which got an early start with tropical storm Arlene in April.