Parish officials discuss recent severe weather

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Amanda Simmons/Press-Tribune | Still photo from a video taken in Bossier City showing a lightning strike.

Special to the Press-Tribune

Bossier Parish escaped relatively unscathed Thursday when a line of thunderstorms, that had wreaked havoc in East Texas earlier in the evening, crossed northwest Louisiana.

Mark Coutee, Public Works Director for the parish police jury, said he received no reports of wind damage or flooding during the evening Thursday. Although road crews were prepared for callouts, none were necessary, Coutee said.

With the forecast calling for severe weather Thursday, and the chance of more rain through next week, Director of

Courtesy Photo | A gauge located on the Dogwood Trail bridge is used by the Bossier Parish office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness to measure the water level of Red Chute Bayou. The bayou is one of the major water drainage sources in the parish.
Courtesy Photo | A gauge located on the Dogwood Trail bridge is used by the Bossier Parish office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness to measure the water level of Red Chute Bayou. The bayou is one of the major water drainage sources in the parish.

Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Ian Snellgrove is keeping up with what’s going on through regular reports from the National Weather Service and other reporting agencies.

“We have a webinar (conference via Internet) and conference calls with the National Weather Service and parish officials usually listen in on those calls,” he said.

Snellgrove’s office is the coordinating agency for emergency preparedness with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Corps of Engineers. His office also coordinates group meetings with parish agencies and the state police when emergency situations arise.

Snellgrove said his office is keeping an eye on weather events north of Bossier Parish that may have an impact on already high water levels here.

“Just about all the water from that area of south Arkansas which borders us drains through Bodcau, then into Red Chute Bayou and Flat River,” he said. “Anytime there’s a significant rain event up there it will impact us and we have to be prepared.”

Bodcau catches and holds a lot of the water, which flows from the north out of Lake Earling, Snellgrove said. Also, tributary waters that flow into Bodcau Bayou eventually wind up in the Bodcau lake dam, the structure that controls the flow into Red Chute Bayou.

Snellgrove said officials watch all the tributaries that run through Bossier Parish to make sure water levels in the southern areas do not become dangerously high.  Currently, he said, the area is draining fairly well, but the ground is saturated and heavy rains locally or to the north could change that outlook.

“So far we’re in pretty good shape,” he said. “The water has been draining, but our gauges reflect the areas which hold much of the water are pretty full. Bodcau holds a lot of water but it is full and everything’s pretty wet.”