Cindy Less Than 100 Miles from Landfall

Update: 10:15 p.m.

Tropical Storm Cindy is less than 100 miles from Port Arthur as weather watchers in east Texas -- and western Louisiana -- stay up late to watch for her arrival.

The storm is in no particular hurry continues to moves toward the Texas-Louisiana border at leisurely 7 mph pace, heading north-northwest.

Chambers and Liberty counties have already felt the earliest effects with heavy rain and gusty winds. In Louisiana, the gambling mecca of Lake Charles has been buffeted by wind and off-and-on downpours since well before sundown Wednesday.

First to feel it, though, are the residents of coastal Bolivar Peninsula communities such as Crystal Beach and Gilchrist. The hardier residents -- and the tourists who didn't pack up -- are staying in place despite a voluntary evacuation order the possibility of power outages.

A tropical storm warning has been narrowed to the area between San Luis Pass Texas and Grand Isle, Louisiana.

"A turn toward the north should occur by Thursday morning, with a turn toward the northeast expected on Friday," according to the National Hurricane Center in its 10 p.m. Wednesday update. "On the forecast track, the center of Cindy will move inland near the Louisiana-Texas border early Thursday, then move across western and northern Louisiana and into southeastern Arkansas Thursday night.

Maximum sustained winds are just below 50 mph, though the gusts spike higher. There's little chance Cindy will gain any strength before landfall, the NHC says.

The sheared, sloppily-shaped storm has tropical-storm-force winds that extend 115 miles from its center.

Cindy is expected to drop 6 to 9 inches of rain - more, in other pockets; up to 15 inches -- in southeastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama, and western portions of the Florida Panhandle through Thursday night. 

Closer to Houston, however, "rainfall amounts of 3 to 5 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 7 inches can be expected farther west across ... eastern Texas through Thursday night," the NHC says.

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