Amite River and canal closed to boat traffic because of debris

Backwater flooding in Livingston Parish as a result of heavy rains to the north wasn’t as bad as expected, officials said Friday.

However, they still ordered the Amite River, Amite River Diversion Canal and Bayou Manchac closed to boat traffic as a safety measure, effective at noon Friday.

The Amite River crested about 2 feet lower than projected at Denham Springs. Officials said they don’t believe water got into any Denham Springs homes.

River Road, which flooded Thursday, was reopened to traffic, Denham Springs Police Chief Scott Jones said.

The National Weather Service also lowered its projected Amite River crests downriver from Denham Springs.

Officials said they don’t expect significant flooding in those areas.

On the Tickfaw River, Saturday’s projected crest at Holden has been reduced from 16 feet to 12 feet, which is below flood stage.

The Weather Service also reported the Tangipahoa River at Robert crested at 17.5 feet, a foot lower than expected, with minor rather than moderate flooding.

The Weather Service’s initial projections came after heavy rains earlier this week in Mississippi and in St. Helena Parish.

The river stages didn’t get as high as expected because water didn’t flow out of wooded areas to the north as quickly as expected, said Mark Harrell, director of the Livingston Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness.

The decision to close waterways to boating Friday was due to the large amount of debris that washed down those waterways, he said.

The debris has made those streams unsafe for boating, he said, adding that the affected waterways will remain closed until further notice.

Bret McCormick contributed to this story.