President Declares Federal Disaster After Tropical Storm Cristobal

BATON ROUGE – Heavy rains and high winds lashed the Gulf Coast Sunday afternoon as Tropical Storm Cristobal neared land.

President Donald Trump on Sunday announced he would grant Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ request for a federal disaster declaration, which allows the federal government to help pay for the state’s disaster response. Edwards declared a state emergency on Thursday, and many parishes have followed suit, with some calling for voluntary evacuations.

Cristobal was expected to maintain tropical storm strength through landfall Sunday evening. The National Hurricane Center reported tropical storm-force winds along the coast from southeastern Louisiana to Alabama. Sustained winds reached 50 miles per hour with gusts of up to 64 miles per hour.

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Heavy rainfall and storm surge were threatening an area stretching from southeast Louisiana to the Florida panhandle. At 4 p.m. Cristobal was about 65 miles south of New Orleans and headed north at 7 miles per hour, a bit faster than the 5 miles per hour reported earlier in the day but slow enough to raise concerns about lingering rain.

The storm was expected to turn north-northwest during the night, moving across southeast Louisiana through Monday morning and across Arkansas and Missouri Monday afternoon into Tuesday, forecasters said.

Cristobal is expected to produce rainfall accumulations of 4 to 8 inches across portions of the central to eastern Gulf Coast into the lower Mississippi Valley, with isolated amounts up to 12 inches. Flash flooding and widespread flooding on smaller streams across portions of the central Gulf Coast into the lower Mississippi Valley are likely, the National Hurricane Center said.

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By David Jacobs of the Center Square

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