Fast, heavy rain causes problems

Published 7:29 pm Sunday, August 11, 2013

The storm that rumbled through Bogalusa Friday afternoon knocked over one tree on Dan Street and left standing water throughout the city.

Weather watcher Robert Ladner said 4.65 inches of water fell. And it happened in about an hour’s time.

Floodwaters raced over Willis Avenue, and ditches throughout town were quickly filled to overflowing.

On Avenue E, two people reported water in their homes. One of them was located in the 500 block. The other, Arlene Miller, owns three adjacent homes in the 800 block, and two of them were flooded by the rapid downpour.

“I’ve been fighting this for five years,” Miller said. “It’s like a bowl here. Water collects in it, and it’s a flood-free zone.

“The mayor was out here in the rain helping one day. He said he’d try to get a larger drain put in. This happens every time it rains. It’s ridiculous. Now I have to replace all the floors.”

After the storm, the Bogalusa Fire Department was on site, as was Centerpoint Energy because there was reportedly a gas smell in one of the houses. Miller said she’d called out Entergy because “electricity and water don’t mix.”

Everybody was looking at the pump in the flooded back yard, saying the drains had been cleared, but the pump was “not turned on.”

A call to Director of Public Works James Hall proved enlightening. He said those pumps have nothing to do with draining storm water.

“All the water is gravity fed to the river,” he said. “The pumps are for the sewer lift station, not storm water.”

The large amount of rain and the fact that it fell in such a short period of time was the problem, he said.

“What can I do?” Hall asked. “The city can handle one to 1.5 inches in an hour. We got 4.65. I don’t care how clean the ditches are or how big, they can’t handle that much rain.

“The new BBQ restaurant had water running through the store. The guy over there understood. He said the drain was draining; it just couldn’t take so much.”

Hall said Northshore Charter School also reported a leaking roof.

“They thought they got it fixed last week, but they got water in the gym,” he said. “They’ll get it fixed. But this type of rain brings out leaks you don’t know you have. And the way it was falling, it might not leak again.”