Livingston Parish and much of Louisiana dodged a bullet last week.
Tropical Storm Cindy, which many feared would pack torrential rains and bring more widespread flooding to the area, turned out far less a threat than many feared.
It brought significant rainfall to the area, and some low-lying areas around Killian and Maurepas took in floodwater. Otherwise, Cindy’s bark was far worse than her bite.
Storm events in recent years that did not amount to much would often lead some to say forecasters played on ours fears, or that emergency preparedness crews overreacted.
It’s doubtful residents in Livingston Parish or the other 75 percent of the state which flooded will ever embrace that mindset again.
The “routine” summer rain event in August 2016 – an unnamed storm, to boot – became one of the worst natural disasters in our nation’s history.
The recovery has been underway, albeit much slower than many would want. Others continue to struggle with FEMA, SBA, insurance adjustors and mortgage companies nearly a year after the Great Flood of 2016.
The struggles in the aftermath of the 2016 flood gave residents every reason to fear the worst from Tropical Storm Cindy. For many residents in Livingston and surrounding parishes, it became a life-changing event – and, for the vast majority, not for the better.
It also justified the sense of urgency by emergency preparedness agencies in Livingston Parish and throughout the state. Mark Harrell, director of the Livingston Parish of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, urged residents at the onset that they should not take the storm lightly.
We also saw the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness urge residents to prepare for the worst. Gov. John Bel Edwards, in fact, alluded to the Great Flood of 2016 as an example of why we should not underestimate even a weak tropical storm.
Fortunately, the worst-case scenarios never came to fruition. The brunt of the storm passed most of the state by the evening of June 22, with minimal damage.
Other states, particularly Alabama and Florida, endured a more intense brunt of the storm, but nothing which amounted to a widespread catastrophe.
It’s a relief that we emerged unscathed from Tropical Storm Cindy, but the amount of caution and urgency was well worth it for Livingston Parish and other areas between southeast Texas and southwest Florida.
Judging from what we’ve learned in the Great Flood of 2016, a sense of overkill on preparation is not always a bad thing.
Hurricane season is still young, and we still have to face the often active period between early August and mid-September. The same sense of urgency for Cindy should apply to all severe threats we may face this season.