S&WB: New Orleans hit with more than 5 inches of rain overnight

S&WB: New Orleans hit with more than 5 inches of rain overnight
Widespread street flooding was reported in New Orleans on Mother's Day (May 12), including in the Garden District St. Charles Avenue. (Photo courtesy of Michael Hoard)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - More than five inches of rain fell in New Orleans during a seven-hour period overnight Saturday and early Sunday (May 12), according to the Sewerage and Water Board.

Many residents woke up on Mother’s Day to flooded streets and sidewalks, with water damaging some cars, homes and businesses. RTA suspended public transportation services and several roads were blocked off due to high water and dangerous diving conditions.

In a statement released Sunday afternoon, the Sewerage and Water Board said there were heavy bouts of rain throughout the night, at some points falling at rates of two inches an hour or higher. Widespread street flooding was seen across the city, most of which receded within two hours, according to city officials.

S&WB officials said the drainage system showed “some improvements," compared to the length of time it has taken in the past to clear flooded streets. However, officials noted certain areas of the city where streets took longer to drain, which are listed below:

  • Area bounded by Canal Boulevard, West End Boulevard, City Park Avenue, and Filmore Avenue
  • Broad Street and Orleans Avenue corridors
  • Banks Street corridor
  • Franklin Avenue at I-610/I-10 overpass
  • Napoleon Avenue from Claiborne Avenue to Broad Street
  • St. Bernard Avenue corridor
  • St. Claude Avenue from Elysian Fields Avenue to the Lower 9th Ward
  • General De Gaulle and Wall Boulevards corridor

S&WB spokesman Richard Rainey said the highest rate of rainfall was recorded at 3.1 inches in the hour between 5:15 a.m. and 6:15 a.m. in the Lower 9th Ward. During the storms, 115 of the city’s 120 pumps were available for use, according to Rainey, who said the pumps cannot all be used at once because, “such an effort would overflow downstream canals.”

Rainey said one pump near City Park lost power temporarily while it was raining hard around 5 a.m. after Entergy lost power in that area. An on-site generator was used to restore power to the pump by 6 a.m., according to Rainey, who said the pump in question would not have been in use at that time anyway because “the water in the canal wasn’t high enough.”

Mother's Day flooding on St. Charles Avenue

In a statement Sunday, Mayor Latoya Cantrell said improving the city’s infrastructure and drainage system remains one of her top priorities.

“My administration has been laser-focused on infrastructure as a whole and stormwater management in particular,“ Cantrell said. "As we face our issues head on, we are using data and experience to better live with water.”

The mayor later posted on Twitter asking residents to report clogged catch basins and areas of poor drainage to 311 and said the city will use Sunday’s flooding to learn how to better solve these issues in the future.

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