Anniversary: NOLA swamped by May floods 20 years ago

Anniversary: NOLA swamped by May floods 20 years ago

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Much of New Orleans was under water after a downpour swamped the city 20 years ago.

On May 8, 1995, the city experienced the worst single rainstorm after Hurricane Betsy and before Hurricane Katrina. As much as 20 inches of rain fell in a 24 hour period. It was an all-time record for rain in one day.

Since New Orleans is below sea level, when rain falls at that pace the town floods, offering eerie images from the air and from the ground. The rain came down so fast, it overwhelmed the pumps.

The rain swamped homes and cars from New Orleans to the North Shore, leaving drivers stranded and residents bewildered.

Boats and pirogues floated along Mid-City streets. It was the closest thing residents could find to a commuter shuttle.

In the minds, of those who lived it and covered it, the memory of the great flood in May of 1995 is often eclipsed by Katrina 10 years later. But looking back, it remains a prime example of a city learning to cope with life below sea level.

Mobile viewers can see the slideshow and video here.

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