Flood threat prompts preventative action

Heavy rains possible each day through mid-week

Flood threat prompts preventative action

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Jefferson Parish officials say the drainage system is ready to handle the forecasted deluge.

It’s officially spring and as if on cue a spring rain event is in the forecast.

Jefferson Parish Emergency Management Director Joseph Valiente says the parish is prepared. He said, “With a 4 to 6 inch event if we get caught under a large thunderstorm and it stays stationary and it drops an inch or two or three within an hour we’re going to get localized street flooding.”

He said the parish pump system is in good shape. “We have only two pumps that are down,” said Valiente. One of three pumps in Westwego and one of ten in the problem prone Elmwood area are out of service. Valiente said, “They have 95 percent capacity in Elmwood and 95 percent capacity at Westwego. Those areas we think are good.”

Public works crews ramped up their weekly inspections. According to Valiente, “We check all of our canals and make sure that there are no obstructions.”

Parish workers used vacuum trucks on any blocked drains. He said the process goes on regularly, but identified problem areas are addressed before bad weather arrives. Valiente said, “We make sure that we get those attended too immediately before the weather comes in.”

After repeated rain flooding events in 2020 residents hope for improvements. Many voiced their frustrations in a parish council meeting last fall. Craig Cabral owns property in Metairie. He said, “The drainage is terrible between Causeway and Severn. It appears now that even a slightly heavy rain we’re getting flooding. My neighbors across the street have flooded at least a half dozen times in the last five years. My office has gotten water twice.”

During the September 22, 2020 meeting Stephen Bell of Sal’s Sno-Balls also spoke. He said, “The floods have gotten worse over the years we used to average about two a year this year we are at six we had four in July.”

Valiente thinks street flooding should be the most widespread problem this week. He said this is an area where the public can help. “If you see that there is excessive street flooding in your neighborhood, call the 911 center and that goes on a list a flooded street list and we’ll check those areas out and make sure they’re still passable and if they are not, we’ll put up barricades and set up detours,” said Valiente.

He also said property owners should follow their gut. “We don’t give sandbags in Jefferson Parish and clearly if a business owner knows his business better than we do. If they feel that the rain will be a threat and they feel that they want to put sandbags up just to be on the safe side I don’t think that that’s bad advice,” said Valiente.

Valiente said the most helpful thing residents can do is stay off the roads during the storms. He also asked people be mindful of wind and to bring in or tie down any loose objects.

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