SOME OF BARRY’S WORK - The iconic sign of Worthmore’s 5 & 10 suffered damage in the early morning hours Sunday, July 14, when Hurricane/Tropical Storm Barry cut right through Acadia Parish producing wind gusts and rain bands across Acadiana. The sign was repaired later on Sunday, compliments of Chief Carroll Stelly and the city’s DOC workers. (Acadian-Tribune Photo by Josie Henry)
Slow-moving Barry spares Rayne, Acadia Parish
RAYNE - What was predicted to be a life-threatening rain event for the state of Louisiana, the majority of the state appeared to have dodge a bullet over the weekend.
Tropical Storm Barry, upgraded to Hurricane Barry for a short time Saturday morning, weakened once it hit landfall near Intracoastal City. By Saturday night, Barry was crawling north-northwest at only eight miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Aside from a few down trees and the loss of electricity in a handfull of neighborhoods, Barry’s weak eye wall skirted right over Rayne and Acadia Parish Saturday night.
Rayne, expected to receive 5-8 inches of rainfall, collected approximately four inches during the four-day event.
“We were prepared for the worst from the initial predictions,” stated Rayne Mayor Charles “Chuck” Robichaux. “We got lucky.”
“I would like to thank our city employees, Chief Carroll Stelly and the DOC workers and all the volunteers for all their cooperation and assistance for a smooth weekend. Our community came together. It was great to see Rayne work together.”
The Frog Festival grounds and pavilion area were set as a staging area for Entergy and ABC Professional Tree Services as their services were needed in the state.
Locally, Chief Stelly had officers on call ready at a moment’s notice, as were members of the Rayne Volunteer Fire Department.
Other areas of Acadia Parish, mostly the northeastern part of the parish, saw the most precipitation of the immediate area 7-10 inches total.
As noted by Acadia Parish Sheriff K.P. Gibson, that area of the parish had between 2,000 and 3,000 residents with some degree of power outage over the weekend.
“It was a tough storm to deal with becuase it came from so many directions,” Gibson stated. “It was a challenge. Our staffing was probably overkill, but with the predictions, we wanted to make sure we had enough people on hand to provide what was needed for the citizens of our parish.
“We did extremely well parish wide and had a very limited number of complaints, mostly consisting of down lines and trees. Best of all, we didn’t hear of any reports of injuries associated with the storm.”
Gibson, Stelly, Robichaux and other officials from across Acadia Parish took part in a two-a-day meetings with the Office of Emergency Preparedness beginning Wednesday and continuing through the day Sunday.
Governor John Bel Edwards said he’s “extremely grateful that the forecasted rains and flooding did not materialize.”
Heavy rainfall and a high storm surge (7 feet in some areas) did produce flooding along the south and southeast shore line as the storm moved slowly inland.
As backdoor rain bands moved north of Acadia Parish, portions of central Louisiana experienced extensive flooding.
As of press time, reports show 93 individuals were rescued in 11 parishes during the storm (48 of those from one facility in Iberia Parish).