Officials watchful as rain is expected to continue
By Bob Anderson
Florida Parishes bureau
January 15, 2013
“We’re still watching (the water). Hopefully, it will continue to subside with the wind blowing out of the north.” Layton Ricks, Livingston Parish president
Water levels dropped in Livingston Parish on Monday, but still posed problems as rain continued.
Emergency officials had to use high-water vehicles early Monday morning to rescue motorists stranded in flood waters and other people marooned in their homes, said Mark Harrell, director of the Livingston Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness.
The Amite River crested Monday at Port Vincent and was falling on the Tickfaw River at Holden, according to the National Weather Service.
“We’re still watching it,” Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks said of the water. “Hopefully, it will continue to subside with the wind blowing out of the north.”
A lot depends on how much more rain hits the area, he said.
Parish waterways remained closed to all but emergency boat traffic, Ricks said.
State and local officials aided water flow on the rivers by using trucks with grappling hooks to pull debris from around some bridges.
That had the dual benefit of protecting the bridges and preventing them from acting as dams that cause water to back up, Harrell said.
The bridges were “catching everything,” including decks that had floated down river, Harrell said.
Those blockages were “backing everything up” and putting “a lot of pressure on the bridges,” he said.
Livingston Parish officials said 36 roads still had water on them Monday afternoon and 15 remained closed. At the height of the six days of flooding, water was standing on 167 roads in the parish, Harrell said.
Water has damaged some roads, causing large pot holes, he said.
It has taken a half of a dump truck load of limestone to fill some of the potholes, the OEP director said.
The parish will be assessing road and other damage as well as its response costs to determine if the parish qualifies for federal disaster relief. The cost will have to reach $441,000 for the parish to qualify, Harrell said.
As part of the assessment, he asked any Livingston Parish residents whose homes have flooded to call the OEP hotline at (225) 686-3996 between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. from Tuesday through Friday.
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 an OEP news release.
Such flooding at this time of the year is quite unusual, Ricks said.
“It has been a lot of water,” he added.