Inconvenience, fear as city's streets fill with water

Flooding near Gentilly and Paris
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Heavy rain caused widespread street flooding across New Orleans Monday, reigniting fears among residents about the city’s pumping capacity, but largely proving to be nothing more than an aggravating inconvenience, closing roads and snarling traffic for several hours in the middle of the day.

Several roads were closed, as were several underpasses. 

A few cars appeared to get flooded out as drivers drove into high waters, but NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said that no floodwater entered any homes or businesses, though the proximity to both led to some nervous moments as memories of the July 22 and August 5 floods haven't totally receded. 

"When you have four inches of rain in a very concentrated amount of time, you're going to get street flooding," said Paul Rainwater, the leader of the Sewerage and Water Board’s interim management team.

Rainwater said that 107 of the city’s 120 drainage pumps were working correctly Monday. He added that three of the S&WB power turbines at the Carrollton plant were also working.

Heavy rains poured more than three inches of rains in parts of the New Orleans Metro area, giving Metairie and parts of Orleans Parish between 4 and 5 inches of rain.

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The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for parts of Orleans, Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes that lasted for several hours.

Rainwater reported that an issue at pump station 3 caused two pumps to go offline, but he said three large pumps were available at that station and that the two pumps that were down, were lesser pumps. 

Rainwater also said that pump station 12, which was not manned for hours during the August 5 flooding, was staffed Monday afternoon.

Monday’s heavy rains caused street flooding in areas impacted by the August 5 flooding. Residents near the intersection of Orleans Avenue and Broad Street moved their vehicles to higher ground.

Multiple cars were abandoned in floodwaters under the overpass on Paris Avenue near Gentilly Boulevard. New Orleans Police used barricades to close the road. Eyewitness News’ Kristin Pierce observed floodwaters pool under the overpass to nearly 3 feet.