HOUSTON - If Tropical Storm Cindy floods Houston streets, city and county authorities believe lessons learned from past flooding events will keep drivers safe.
The storm is no hurricane and projections hardly suggest Tropical Storm Cindy will be as strong as Tropical Storm Allison.
However, her predicted path with bands of soaking rain swirling toward Harris County have Paul Bennett planning his escape. He fears street flooding because of what happened last April.
Tax Day floods drowned his friend’s daughter, Claudia Melgar, 25, as she drove home.
“The amount of anguish and the heartache and the heartbreak to the mom has been just devastating,” he said. “I said to myself what would I do if I was in the same situation?”
Cameras caught Melgar, a college student studying and saving to open her own beauty spa, driving into high water on the Westpark Tollway. Several others died that day.
It led county and city officials to install new warning signs and gates to keep drivers away from underpasses that can be death traps during floods.
“You can call 911, but the chance of them getting to you in time, first responders getting to you in time, is not very good,” Jeff Lindner, meteorologist with the Harris County Flood Control District said. “So you have to get out of that vehicle.”
Harris County Flood Control still has water depth gauges posted along trouble spots. Still, County Judge Ed Emmett said there are always surprises and he is worried about Cindy’s timing.
“If it comes in Wednesday night as scheduled, then that makes it that much more dangerous,” he said.
With roads harder to see after sunset, Emmett urges drivers to pay attention, avoid high water and have a plan.
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