(Reuters) - The remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy brought tornadoes and flooding to the U.S. Gulf Coast on Thursday and its heavy rains will drench much of the eastern United States in coming days, forecasters said.
Flooding and road closures stretched from east Texas into northwestern Florida after Cindy made landfall early on Thursday near the Louisiana-Texas border and weakened to a tropical depression, the National Weather Service said.
Cindy is expected to dump 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 cm) of rain as it heads north and east into the Ohio Valley and the Appalachian Mountains through Saturday, said Brian Hurley, a weather service meteorologist. Totals could reach 9 inches (22.5 cm) in some areas.
"We're looking at quite a bit of rain. That's going to be the main threat," he said.
At least two tornadoes were reported near Birmingham, Alabama, destroying several buildings and injuring at least four people, according to the National Weather Service and local media.
None of the injuries were life-threatening, said Nick Dyer, police chief in Fairfield, where one tornado hit.
The center of the dying tropical storm could pass near Washington by Saturday morning and move off Massachusett's Cape Cod on Saturday evening, followed by a cold front, the National Weather Service said.
By midday Thursday the storm had cut Gulf of Mexico oil production by 16 percent, representing around 288,000 barrels per day of output, the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said.
Energy operators had evacuated 39 production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, or roughly 5 percent of them.
The storm's only reported fatality occurred on Wednesday, when a 10-year-old boy was struck by a log dislodged by a large wave as he stood near the shore in Fort Morgan, Alabama, the Baldwin County coroner said.
Reporting by Liz Hampton in Houston; Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Ian Simpson in Washington; Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee and Scott DiSavino in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler and Lisa Shumaker