Flash flooding drenches Jefferson, Orleans parishes; pumps ‘overwhelmed’
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Bands of heavy rain pushed through New Orleans and surrounding areas Friday morning, causing flash flooding and power outages.
Cars were flooded as roads became inundated in New Orleans East.
The flash flooding prompted questions about whether the city is ready for hurricane season.
“They say the city is ready for a hurricane,” Warren Murphy said. “We’re not ready for rain. It’s just crazy.”
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Sewerage and Water Board leaders say despite having the needed capacity, Friday’s storm system, which dumped five inches of rain per hour in New Orleans East, was so intense it overwhelmed the city’s pumps.
S&WB Director Ghassan Korban says the system was operational.
“Everything that we were responsible for was running and running well. It’s just the amount of rain again surpassed the capacity that we have anywhere across the city. And this is an intensity that really would overwhelm any system in any city, to be honest with you, conventional or unique like our system,” Korban says.
Korban says climatology reports indicate a higher frequency of events like this. He says it’s just something we have to live with more often.
To be prepared, Korban says heed the warnings of local officials and move your vehicles to higher ground when possible.
Still, street flooding across the city left vehicles submerged and water standing for hours.
Councilman Eugene Green called for a special report from S&WB.
An NOPD high water vehicle helped rescue passengers from a Little Woods bus that came to a watery stop on Leon C. Simon near the Seabrook Bridge.
Uber driver Ted Lynn may have lost his Honda, the main source of his income, after being caught off guard by the flooding.
“I’ve never been in a situation like this. I don’t know what to do,” he said.
Murphy raced to the bridge to help his daughter, a working student who needs her car to begin her freshman year at Grambling in just over a month.
“I was on my way to work and I didn’t think it was that deep and then my car just stopped,” Imani Powell said.
High water by the Seabrook Bridge claimed at least six vehicles and the city bus. Street flooding also claimed vehicles several miles away at Dwyer and Virgillian.
In the past, the city has tried to set up a barricade system to warn people about the dangers of underpass flooding but there’s a big question as to whether this storm allowed enough time to get that done.
“Let the insurance company come look at the car and take it from there, that’s all you can do,” Murphy said. “This is New Orleans.”
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