Cristobal caused 'substantial' damage to Louisiana levee, concern grows for active hurricane season forecast

Cristobal roared ashore Sunday night in southeastern Louisianasignificantly eroding a levee that's worried local officials amid a forecasted active hurricane season.

The third named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season made landfall Sunday afternoon with 50 mph winds between the mouth of the Mississippi River and the barrier island resort community of Grand Isle, 108 miles southeast of New Orleans.

While the community of about 1,500 permanent residents did not see substantial structural damage from the storm, a tidal surge sent water into area roadways and caused massive erosion on area beaches.

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Police Chief Laine Landry told the Houma Courier that "severe beach erosion" was reported on the west side of Grand Isle. Storm surge and waves washed away sand, damaging a levee that protects the vulnerable seaside community.

Flooding in Grand Isle, Louisiana as Tropical Storm Cristobal made landfall on June 7.

Flooding in Grand Isle, Louisiana as Tropical Storm Cristobal made landfall on June 7. (Jefferson Paris President Cynthia Lee Sheng/Facebook)

“Our sand-dune hurricane-protection levee on the Gulf side has taken a substantial amount of damage from the heavy sea,” Landry told the newspaper “We’re just getting into storm season, so that’s going to be a major concern.”

Photos from FOX8 show the severe erosion as the storm approached.

According to Landry, Cristobal brought a storm surge of about 5 feet across the island with waves as high as 15 feet.

Flooding in Grand Isle, Louisiana as Tropical Storm Cristobal made landfall on  June 7.

Flooding in Grand Isle, Louisiana as Tropical Storm Cristobal made landfall on  June 7. (Jefferson Paris President Cynthia Lee Sheng/Facebook)

Photos show most of the barrier island saw flooding from the storm, but most buildings are elevated.

Flooding in Grand Isle, Louisiana as Tropical Storm Cristobal made landfall on  June 7.

Flooding in Grand Isle, Louisiana as Tropical Storm Cristobal made landfall on  June 7. (Jefferson Paris President Cynthia Lee Sheng/Facebook)

To have an important storm protection system already damaged a week into the official hurricane season worries officials about what's ahead.

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There are as many as 13 to 19 named storms predicted during the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, forecasters from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said last month.

The 2020 hurricane season forecast from NOAA.

The 2020 hurricane season forecast from NOAA. (Fox News)

Six to 10 of those could develop into hurricanes, with winds of 74 mph or more, and three to six could even become major hurricanes, capable of inflicting devastating damage.

There have already been three storms by early June, even though hurricane season doesn't typically peak till late summer.

There have already been three storms by early June, even though hurricane season doesn't typically peak till late summer. (Fox News)

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This forecast is well above the averages of 12 named tropical stormssix hurricanes, and three major hurricanes during the season.

Grand Isle Mayor David Camardelle told the Washington Post he's been in contact with the state's congressional delegation and asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer to fix the damaged sand dunes, possibly by using rocks. The dunes were 160 feet before the storm, but had lost nearly 100 feet by Monday.

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"Anybody that's got a beautiful place on Grand Isle facing the Gulf of Mexico, they all want rocks so they can sleep at night," he told the paper. "If another tropical depression comes, it will wash the tube into the Gulf. This is an emergency."

The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, and will include the names: Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna, Isaias, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paulette, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky, and Wilfred.