Northshore parishes, towns preparing for rain and river threats

Washington Parish is powering up its storm preparations in anticipation for what could be a tropical storm, by testing generators and setting out sand piles and bags for later filling.

FRANKLINTON, La. --  Washington Parish is powering up its storm preparations in anticipation for what could be a tropical storm, by testing generators and setting out sand piles and bags for later filling.

"The biggest focus for us is the culvert and bridge locations that we have throughout the parish," said Parish Emergency Management Director Tommy Thiebaud. "We're a hilly parish, so if you're at the bottom of one of those, along the creeks, you could get water across the roads ... We want to be prepared for washouts in those areas. We want to have signs ready to put out if we do have any road closures."

Down in Madisonville, crews are readying drainage ditches to take on more water and move it out quickly, But in addition to rainfall, river levels are a big focus for area leaders.

"We really drain well here in Madisonville, but the tide water," said Mayor Jean Pelloat. "When we have a problem with the river coming up and nowhere for the rain to drain to. That's when we have our major problems here."

"Definitely concerned," said Gary Nicosia, who lives along the Tchefuncte River. "Any storm surge will push water out of the river banks under the house. Isaac put the most under here, which was about four feet."

In March of last year, a combination of non-stop rain falling into already high rivers, which were also being affected by southern winds, became a perfect storm scenario that led to hundreds of water rescues and thousands of homes flooded.

That experience has first responders more ready now with new tools like swift water rescue boats and a drone.

And while residents may not have top of the line resources like emergency crews, leaders say preparing in any way you can is better than not preparing at all.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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