PEARL RIVER, La. -- Tuesday’s weather is only making matters worse for the Pearl River. The waterway is already above its 14-foot flood stage and is expected to keep rising another two feet, then hold steady for several days.
Since Christmas, the Pearl River’s level has caught the attention of its neighbors, including Charles Blanchard.
"Rising,” he said, “The water's coming up."
It’s also been on the hydrologists’ radar at the National Weather Service in Slidell.
“The Pearl River and Pearl River gauge right now, we're at 14.9 feet. We're forecasting it to be at 16.5 and hold that at least through the 6th," said Hydrologist In Charge Suzanne Van Cooten, Ph.D.
Fourteen feet is flood stage and the predictions are a far cry from the last major flood warning, with Isaac’s 18.5 ft level. Nonetheless, staffing has been doubled at the Weather Service office to watch the numbers.
“They basically accumulated a lot of rain and a lot of moisture into the basin and with the shorter days, we're just not evaporating as much," Van Cooten said. "We don't have as much vegetation on the trees so that's allowing the river to climb."
The river is already getting into places it doesn't normally reach, and as for those places that involve homes, people who live along the river are taking steps to prepare today.
"That's what we do, put everything out on the road, on the shoulder of the road," said Blanchard. They also monitor how quickly the water creeps toward cars, houses and the only road out. It’s sort of a New Year tradition for the families that live along the river and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
"This is the way we live,” said Blanchard, “We're prepared for it."
There are also flood warnings along the Pearl River at Bogalusa and the Bogue Chitto near Bush. The National Weather Service says any more systems after Tuesday’s could end up extending the flood warnings for two weeks.