Water recedes in Acadiana, but more rain on the way

Alonso Credes swept what he could of his driveway on Thursday, the little bit that wasn’t still underwater. The water had receded after rising the day before to approach his front door, Credes said.

The rain that fell Wednesday and Thursday — 7 to 10 inches or more — didn’t flood Credes’ home in Oak Springs subdivision in northwest Lafayette Parish. But Credes said it marks the third time he’s watched water rise and sweated its possible intrusion in the 1½ years he’s lived in the home with his wife and son.

“Many times we have a problem when nobody else in the surrounding area has an issue,” Credes said. “When they sold me this house, they didn’t tell me anything about this.”

Many Acadiana residents on Thursday cleaned up the mess from an intense downpour early Wednesday, a mess that was exacerbated by lesser rainstorms Thursday.

The damage was uneven.

St. Mary Parish President Paul Naquin Jr. said rainfall there was limited to about 2 inches Wednesday. Forty to 60 miles to the northwest, houses in unincorporated areas of Lafayette Parish, such as the Oak Springs subdivision, saw some water damage.

Naquin said St. Mary Parish public works employees prepared sandbags for residents who ended up not needing them.

“Y’all need some? We got plenty,” Naquin joked.

Carencro, in North Lafayette Parish, received a lot of rain, Mayor Glenn Brasseaux said, but not nearly as much as what fell in a March 2012 storm — 16 inches in eight hours — that pushed water into 484 city homes and more outside the city.

“(This time), in our city, nobody has water in their house,” Brasseaux said.

He credited a Corps of Engineers project started after the March 2012 flooding for mitigating the damage this week. He said an 8-acre retention pond might have absorbed much of the water and prevented water rising higher.

In the rest of Lafayette Parish, damage was minimal, said Thomas Carroll III, public works director for Lafayette Consolidated Government.

Carroll said forecasts before Wednesday called for 5 inches over three to four days. Lafayette Parish saw that much from midnight to 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, he said. And the Duson and Judice areas of the parish might have had up to 13 inches of rain, he said.

Carroll said his department was taken by surprise with the amount of water that fell and had only enough sandbags to distribute to 50 homes.

“In a flash flood, we didn’t have time,” Carroll said.

Some public school students in systems that had not already finished their school years were dismissed early again Thursday, the last day of school.

School officials announced early dismissals at Duson Elementary because of flooding concerns early Thursday morning. Other school closures followed: Ossun Elementary, Carencro Heights Elementary and Carencro Middle.

As the day wore on in northern Lafayette Parish, the district dismissed Charles Burke, Ridge, Westside and L. Leo Judice elementary schools at noon, followed by a 1 p.m. dismissal at Judice and Scott Middle schools.

Kent Kuyper, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lake Charles, said areas around Lafayette received between 4 and 10 inches of rain between Wednesday and Thursday. Some areas received more rain, which led to localized flooding.

A flash flood watch remains in effect for central and southwest Louisiana through Friday afternoon as additional thunderstorms and the potential for more rain continues. An additional 2 to 3 inches of rain could fall Thursday night, which could add to any current flooding issues.

Water levels in Bayou Vermilion near Carencro got up to over 19 feet into moderate flood stage and were expected to keep rising to about 20 feet by Friday morning before water levels recede over the next couple days.

Farther south, water levels in the Vermilion River at Lafayette Surrey Street started to go down Thursday morning before additional rainfall bumped it back up to 12.5 feet. Flood stage at that location is 10 feet.

Amy Wold contributed to this report.