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Cristobal dodges St. Mary

Staff Report
The Tri-City area was waiting Monday to see whether Tropical Storm Cristobal, which was predicted last week to come ashore near Morgan City, would pass to the east without generating more than light rain and a few stiff breezes here.
Cristobal’s poorly structured center came ashore in the 5-6 p.m. hour Sunday in the Grand Isle-Barataria Bay area. Coastal flooding of 3-5 feet was reported along the Gulf Coast into Mississippi.
East St. Mary has an 80% chance of rain Monday, diminishing to 20% Monday night. Winds will be 10-15 mph with gusts to 20 mph.
The Atchafalaya River at Morgan City is expected to rise to 8.0 feet by about 7 p.m. Monday because of Cristobal’s 1- to 3-foot storm surge. It will fall quickly to near the 6-foot minor flood stage overnight, the National Weather Service said. The 8-foot level could cause flooding near Lake Palourde and in lower St. Martin.
St. Mary was at the center of many of the early predictions for Cristobal, which moved north across the Gulf at 12-14 mph after soaking Mexico and portions of Central America.
The first predictions were for a landfall somewhere between Vermilion Bay and the Atchafalaya. There was talk in some early forecasts of 10-15 inches of rain, just as there had been nearly a year earlier during Hurricane Barry.
As the weekend wore on, Cristobal’s projected path moved further to the east, being described first as “east of Morgan City,” then to Terrebonne or Lafourche, and finally to the point where its ragged center reached land near the mouth of the Mississippi.
Just as with Barry, the rain forecasts for St. Mary were far higher than the actual rainfall. But unlike the situation during Barry, the parish didn’t get enough wind to cause damage or to affect the power grid.
The gauge at Harry P. Williams Memorial Airport near Patterson recorded 1.3 inches of rain between midday Sunday and Monday morning.
Wind gusts of up to 28 mph were reported Sunday morning.
Cleco reported no widespread power outages in St. Mary. The electric utility said at 9 p.m. Sunday that it had restored power to more than 3,000 of the 3,500 St. Tammany customers who lost power during Cristobal. A few other outages were reported in Washington Parish.


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