TS Cindy serves as a reminder about the potential harm even a small storm can inflict

Cindy serves as reminder of storm protection

(WVUE) - People in South Louisiana woke up Thursday morning to splashes of blue sky and might have wondered what all the fuss was about over a tropical storm on the Texas-Louisiana border.

Those living along a narrow band of storms stretching from Southern Plaquemines Parish to Biloxi  needed no reminding.

Cindy, which has since been downgraded, produced hours of heavy rain for some residents. In Cameron Parish, where Cindy made landfall, Mary Jones admitted to being nervous as the storm approached. Jones, who moved there only a couple months ago, told KPLC-TV, "I've never been through this kind of weather."

Hurricane veterans took it all in stride.

"This ain't nothing,' said Vincent George.  "This is just a good party."

Cindy also serves as a reminder of how Louisiana's coastal land loss heightens the effects of storms. Even minor tropical systems now drive water into places once fairly protected, a situation complicated by the fact that the delta is sinking.

Geologists say as coastal Louisiana subsides, the relatively higher sea makes storms worse over time.

Grand Isle is sinking at a rate nine times faster than the Florida Keys, according to a NOAA study. Cindy chewed at the beach, tore up portions of the levee not protected by rock, and damaged dozens of businesses.

"There's nothing we can do," said seafood business owner Dean Blanchard. "We're walking in water."

High winds drove water into low-lying areas of New Orleans, closing Hwy. 11 and Hwy. 90 and exposing a potential weak link in the hurricane evacuation system. Levees.org points out that a 2-mile stretch of roadway between the levees and the Twin Spans bridge could go underwater in a similar, but stronger storm, in the future.

"It is very low, maybe 6 or 7 feet above the lake." said H.J. Bosworth, a civil engineer with the group.  "Say the lake comes up 3 feet and you've got enough wind to have 3 foot waves, you've got salt water on the roadways that they're trying to drive through."

Bosworth believes a small wall along the roadway could solve part of the issue.

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