Parish officials’ update on historic flood (March 11)

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Information received during a Friday morning briefing for emergency agencies and responders on current flood conditions in Bossier Parish:

• National Weather Service reported close to one inch of rain over the past 24 hours; close to 20 inches of rain has fallen in some areas of Bossier Parish since Tuesday. Red Chute Bayou at Sligo Rd. seems to be on its way down at 38.1 feet; level at Dogwood is 24.8 feet. Crest is expected Saturday or Sunday and should last 48 hours. Another one to two inches of rain is expected over the next 24 hours.

• A slight risk of damaging winds, hail and possible tornado activity might be expected Sunday with the passage of a cold front. To date, only two fatalities have been reported in the region; one in Bienville Parish, one in Ouachita Parish. Both occurred when motorists drove around barricades at high water areas. Bill Parker with the National Weather Service said flash flooding is the number one killer in weather events.

• South Bossier Fire District 2 Chief Kenny Tyson reported his workers have helped evacuate hundreds of residents in his area and had conducted 17 swift water rescues since the onset of high water.

• Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington said command posts have been established in critical areas and deputies continue to patrol levees and all areas of the parish. Deputies made 70 rescues of individuals trapped by high water Thursday night.

• Mark Long with the Bossier Parish Levee Board said sandbags are being placed in low areas along Red Chute Bayou between U.S. Hwy. 80 and Dogwood Trail. Levees and low lying areas are constantly being patrolled and monitored.

• Parish Engineer Butch Ford said approximately five feet of water is coming over the spillway at Cypress Black Bayou, an amount that he said is the highest on record. Red Chute Bayou is still rising, he said. Ford reported the closing of two bridges; one on Seven Pines Rd., another on Butler Hill Rd.

• In south Bossier Parish, water is spreading from Flat River and Red Chute Bayou causing road closures from Poole Rd. to Elm Grove and Hwy. 154.

Ford said there are some roads in south Bossier under two to three feet of water and that condition could last until next week. “There is more water in south Bossier than we’ve ever seen,” Ford said. Parish crews are watching the levees and physically measuring levels at the Dogwood bridge.

“We’re in a battle with high water through next week,” Ford said. “We will be in the field watching and ready to react. It’s a complicated situation and we’re not out of the woods yet. We will have to see what happens to the levees.”