Worst of rain over, parish official says

Livingston Parish officials said Tuesday they believe the worst is over after seven days of flooding from heavy rainfall dumped by a persistent weather system pushing ashore from the Gulf of Mexico.

Water rose again on a number of roads as a result of rain Monday night but receded Tuesday, authorities said.

More than 50 roads still had high water signs on them Tuesday afternoon, while 18 remained barricaded, according to data from the Livingston Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness.

Unless a lot more rain occurs, the parish should get back to normal by the end of the week, said Mark Harrell, Livingston’s director of emergency preparedness.

No major second crest is expected on either the Tickfaw River or the Amite River, unless there is a lot of unexpected rainfall, Harrell said.

“We’re hoping to have everything back in its banks in the next two days,” he said.

Workers are moving into the storm-damage assessment phase now, Harrell said.

As of Tuesday evening, only three people in Livingston Parish had reported house flooding to a hotline that opened Tuesday morning, he said, adding that he doesn’t think that number would increase drastically.

“It’s not going to be a large number,” Harrell said.

The Office of Emergency Preparedness has asked residents to call its hotline at (225) 686-3996 between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. through Friday to report any water damage to their homes.

Callers should be prepared to provide the address, a contact number, extent of flooding and whether the home is covered by flood insurance, according to the request.

That is part of a parishwide assessment being done to determine if flooding during the past several days caused sufficient damage for Livingston Parish to quality for federal disaster relief, Harrell said.

Damage will have to amount to $441,000 or more for the parish to qualify for such help, Harrell said.

Toward arriving at that number, the parish also will compile road and other damage as well as its storm response costs, he said.

Water has caused major potholes that will be expensive to fix in some roads, Harrell said.

More potholes and road problems will show up in coming days as vehicles travel over asphalt pavement that has been weakened by standing water, he said.

Crews will make a list of those problems, Harrell said.

At the height of Livingston’s flooding, 167 roads had standing water on them, he said.

Parish waterways probably will remain closed to all but emergency boating until Friday or Saturday, Harrell said.

“With all of the debris, it’s not safe to be out there,” he said of the rivers.