As it turns out, there's a good chance Tropical Storm Cindy won't be as menacing as it sounds — well, at least in Houston.
And that isn't to say it won't rain: One to three inches are in the forecast, with storms brought to you by Cindy sweeping through the Houston area overnight and continuing intermittently throughout Thursday. Expect it to get a little windy, with gusts between 20 and 30 mph and up to 40 in isolated areas, mostly closer to the coast. Since the eye of the storm has moved eastward, Houston is mostly dodging the bullet, with the most threatening areas being near the Texas-Louisiana border and along the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coast. In fact, residents of the Bolivar Peninsula had begun voluntary evacuations Wednesday. Locally, meteorologists have cautioned that those east of I-45 and closer to the coast are at risk for the heaviest rainfall, and that flooding risks might vary based on where the massive storm dumps its water.
In any case, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and Mayor Sylvester Turner held a joint press conference to assure Houstonians that everything was under control. The local leaders said that Cindy provided the region a "good test run" to make sure that emergency management teams and protocols were all working as planned.
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"Both the county and the city have prepared for Tropical Storm Cindy — both of our staffs have been diligent and monitoring the storm, and we continue to monitor it," Emmett said. "The rain in our area will probably come in between midnight and dawn, and so that could leave certain worries. If you're out driving during that time, be extra careful."
Precautions the city and county have taken include preparing dozens of road barricades to block off the most flood-prone underpasses and high-risk roadways in the event of flash flooding. Harris County Flood Control has been removing debris from bayous and other channels to reduce the risk of flooding and has been checking all of the flood gauges to make sure they're ready to go. And the Houston fire and police departments are prepared with high-water rescue boats and vehicles.
Cindy may be no Allison. But we are in Houston, and, well, when it comes to rain, anything can happen.
"You always have to be prepared," Turner said. "That's what I'll say to people who are new to our area."