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With rain and floods, USA braces for Tropical Storm Cristobal

Rain pounded the U.S. Gulf Coast on Sunday ahead of the arrival of Tropical Storm Cristobal, which has already spawned a tornado in Florida.

Roads flooded in coastal Louisiana and Mississippi, and thousands were without power even before the the storm made landfall. It was expected to arrive on U.S. soil late Sunday, though it was not expected to grow into a hurricane.

Forecasters warned the storm would affect a wide area stretching roughly 180 miles (290 kilometers) east into Florida. But they forecast the worst impacts in southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi, where some spots could get up to 12 inches of rain and storm surges of several feet. Tornadoes were also a danger.

“It’s very efficient, very tropical rainfall,” National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said in a Facebook video. “It rains a whole bunch real quick.” Squalls with tropical-force winds reached the mouth of the Mississippi River by Sunday morning and conditions were expected to deteriorate, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

Cristobal’s maximum sustained winds remained at 50 mph (85 kph), and it was moving north at 12 mph (19 kph), centered around 75 miles (125 kilometers) south-southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River.

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