Authorities warn of flash floods with rain in forecast

Published 7:00 am Friday, March 11, 2016

Washington Parish emergency preparedness director Tommy Thiebaud said he hopes residents use caution when traveling today and through the weekend, as rain pounds the region.

“According to the National Weather Service, we’re forecast to have seven to 10 inches over the next three days,” he said on Thursday. “I hope it stays spread out over the next three days. If it does, that may be something we can handle. The biggest thing is flash flooding. If we were to get even four inches in an hour or an hour-and-a-half, we could definitely get some flash flooding.”

Thiebaud said if residents see water running over a bridge, they should turn around and not attempt to drive through it.

“Flashfloods are one of the most dangerous things we have in this country in terms of death,” he said. “People tend to not turn around if they see water across the road. You should never drive if you see water across the road. The safety statement is ‘turn around. don’t drown.’”

Besides that tip, Thiebaud added that the parish has sand and bags for any residents who need them.

“We have the bags and we have the sand,” he said. “They just need to bring their own shovels to fill the bags.”

The locations are 801 Pearl St. in Franklinton, 7 Mile Road and Highway 10 at the YACC building and then at Fire District 7 at 17380 at Bill Booty Road.

“I just want to say that everyone needs to remain vigilant because we don’t know if we’ll get the seven or the 10 inches of rain,” he said. “It could be more, it could be less, but if people stay vigilant then they’ll stay safe.”

In Bogalusa, public works director James Hall said he and his crews will patrol the city during the day to unclog stopped storm drains. But, he added, even without obstructions, he reminded residents that during heavy rains, it is normal for ditches to overflow.

“I noticed that for the first time (the forecasters are) saying flooding rain,” Hall said. “That means that even if your ditch is open and it’s working perfectly, it’s still going to flood the ditch and the yard.”

Hall said it is possible Bogalusa won’t get hit too hard.

“I am hopeful we’re right on the edge of what they’re talking about,” he said. “We’re hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.”