Flood preparation underway in Bossier Parish

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Amanda Simmons/Press-Tribune | The water level continues to rise along the Red River. Local officials are encouraging residents to prepare for potential flooding as the river is expected to crest at 33 feet by June 5, according to parish and state officials.

Residents who live south of La. Highway 527 in south Bossier Parish could possibly see flood conditions similar to those in 2009 when the Red River reaches an expected crest of 33 feet by June 5, according to parish and state officials.

Bossier Sheriff’s Office, City of Bossier City and Bossier Parish Police Jury, joined by other state and local agencies and businesses along the Red River, met Wednesday afternoon at the Bossier Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness to plan for the upcoming rise of the Red River.  The National Weather Service says the river will rise to 33 feet next week because of heavy rains and the volume of water

Amanda Simmons/Press-Tribune
Amanda Simmons/Press-Tribune

coming into the river from lakes and reservoirs upstream in Oklahoma and Texas.

Craig Ross, hydrologist for the National Weather Service, predicted the Red would pass its 30-foot flood stage around Monday and slowly rise another three feet over the upcoming week.   As of noon Thursday, the Red River is at 28.16 feet…and rising.

“Public safety is our top priority, and we want residents in Bossier Parish to be well-aware of how the rising waterways can impact them,” said Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington.

Bossier Parish officials are making plans to inform residents, especially those south of Highway 527, including Smith Road, Poole Road, McDade Road and others in that area.  Residents who will likely be displaced by the high waters should begin now to make necessary plans.  While some roadways will possibly be impassable, U.S. Highway 71 will remain open.

“In light of the information the National Weather Service has provided, if residents had flooding problems in 2009, they can most likely expect water issues this time, also,” said Sheriff Whittington. “Even though the crest is not until next Thursday, the water will start rising, and we want folks to take precautions soon.”

To see how the 33-feet crest of the Red River compares to other years, here is an historical context from the National Weather Service:

  • 29.45 feet in 2009
  • 29.80 feet in 2001
  • 34.50 feet in 1990
  • 33.70 feet in 1958
  • 33.90 feet in 1957
  • 38.3 feet in 1945 (highest crest in modern times)

Although parish officials do not encourage individuals to stay in their homes despite flood conditions, there are items which should be stockpiled if possible. People should be sure they have plenty of canned foods, bottled drinking water, alternative power and light sources and well-charged communication devices.

“While stockpiling supplies is advised, we also want residents to realize they may be cut off for some time because of impassable roadways,” said Sheriff Whittington.  “We also encourage drivers who are able to get out not to drive through water, but to drive around.”

Sandbags are also available for residents, and more are being made. Residents can pick up sandbags at three locations throughout Bossier Parish – Bossier Parish Highway Department Maintenance Barn at 410 Mayfield St. in Benton and the Bossier City Public Service Complex at 3223 Old Shed Rd. in Bossier City from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, and anytime at the Elm Grove Elementary School in south Bossier.

Officials are also encouraging residents along the Red River and south Bossier Parish to take proper precautions with movement of their pets and livestock that might be trapped because of high water or backwater flooding.

Parish officials said residents should be aware that when flooding occurs, it will not be a short-term event.

“The weather service says the Red will crest on June 5, but the water will remain high for perhaps four or five days beyond that date,” said parish engineer Butch Ford. “People who do not want to evacuate may find themselves stranded for some time.”

Residents are encouraged to call the Bossier Sheriff’s Office at 318-965-2203 or 911 if they are have an emergency.

Bossier Parish patrol deputies will be monitoring the water levels, notifying and assisting residents, and ensuring public safety. Officials will continue to monitor the rising Red River and provide updates as necessary.