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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Tropical Storm Cindy has strengthened over the central Gulf of Mexico.

At 11 p.m., the center of the storm was about 230 miles south of Morgan City, Louisiana.

Cindy is moving toward the northwest near 7 mph, and this motion is expected to continue through Wednesday.

A turn toward the north-northwest and then toward the north is expected Wednesday night and early Thursday.

On the forecast track, the center of Cindy will approach the coast of southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas late Wednesday and Wednesday night, and move inland over southeastern Texas on Thursday.

Reports from an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft and nearby ships indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 60 mph with higher gusts.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 275 miles, mainly north through northeast of the center.

Little change in strength is expected on Wednesday. Slight weakening is forecast to begin on Thursday.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for San Luis Pass Texas to the Alabama-Florida border, Metropolitan New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain.

Residents along the U.S. Gulf Coast from the central Texas coast to the western Florida Panhandle are being urged to keep an eye on this storm.

Cindy is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 6 to 9 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches over southeastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle through Thursday.

Rainfall amounts of 3 to 5 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 6 inches can be expected farther west across southwest Louisiana into southeast Texas through Thursday.

Isolated tornadoes are possible tonight into Wednesday from southern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.

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