Coast Prepares For Tropical Storm Cindy

This story was reported for WWNO -- New Orleans Public Radio

Mayor Mitch Landrieu addresses the media ahead of Tropical Storm Cindy. (TRAVIS LUX/WWNO)

Cities and parishes across the coast are bracing for the potential impact of Tropical Storm Cindy and urging citizens to stay safe

In New Orleans Tuesday morning, mayor Mitch Landrieu says the city is ready. But he urged citizens to stay alert, even though they may be used to dealing with storms.

“Unfortunately because this happens so much, we’ve developed an expertise that I think is probably better than anywhere else in the country,” he says. “I wanna make sure that everybody gets kinda woken up from their complacency. Because we’re in the game now.”

Cedric Grant, Executive Director of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, says the city’s pumps and drainage systems are ready and fully operational.

The city’s infrastructure is capable of handling one inch of rain during the first hour of a storm, and a half-inch of rain per hour after that. With up to three inches of rain per hour possible during this storm, periods of street flooding are likely until the system has time to catch up.

Grant says you can help keep the city’s drainage system efficient by clearing out gutters and catch basins near your house, ahead of time.

“Removing trash and leaves and debris will help the water from pooling in the street,” Grant says, “And allow us to evacuate the water that much quicker.”

Visual graphics forecasting Cindy’s path predict the storm will make landfall somewhere between Houston and Cameron Parish in Southwest Louisiana.

Ken Graham is lead meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Slidell, Louisiana. He says graphics like those are a testament to the technical progress of the NWS, but they are sometimes misunderstood, since the effects of storms extend far beyond the potential landfall zone.

“It is critical that we don’t just focus on that cone, or that track,” he says. “Because the impacts are well outside that cone -- hundreds of miles outside that cone.”

According to a press release from the Governor’s Office, the Louisiana National Guard has moved helicopters and high-water vehicles into areas of South Louisiana prone to flooding. FEMA is also moving 125,000 meals and 200,000 liters of water into the state, according to the release.

The City of New Orleans has canceled all outdoor pool and summer camp activities planned for Wednesday and Thursday, according to a press release.