By Amanda Simmons
Bossier Parish is bracing for yet another historic flood.
The National Weather Service predicts the Red River will crest at 34 feet this week, exceeding its flood stage of 30 feet. Officials say flood conditions are now expected to be similar to that of 1990 or in similar past major South Bossier flood events.
“I can’t stress enough to folks who live in south Bossier Parish, especially in the low lying areas, the impact this much water will have,” Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington said. “Right now is the time to place sandbags around your property, move your livestock, or just prepare to relocate to higher ground. There will be flooding.”
The rising water is due to large amounts of precipitation in the region, specifically the higher volume of water coming in from lakes and reservoirs upstream in Oklahoma and Texas. Historically, data from the National Weather Service shows that the 1990 flood crested at 34.5 feet. The highest crest recorded was in 1945 at 38.3 feet.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has already issued an emergency declaration May 29 and ordered GOHSEP to send 25,000 sand bags to help protect Bossier Parish from high water. He also ordered other state agencies to mobilize resources and remain on standby for emergency response efforts.
“The National Weather Service continues to predict high levels of water in Northwest Louisiana, so it is important that our people get a game plan to protect their families in the event of a flooding emergency,” Jindal said. “We are encouraging everyone to ensure they have an evacuation plan in place, as well as emergency supplies like water and prescription medication. We are urging Louisianians to stay alert and monitor local weather conditions in their area. As with every flooding situation, we always hope for the best yet prepare for the worst.”
Inmate crews with the Bossier Sheriff’s Office have placed sandbags around the Bossier Sheriff’s Substation on Arthur Ray Teague Parkway as water levels are expected to reach a foot or more into the facility. Some 3,500 bags are estimated to protect the facility and the water has already made its way into the substation’s parking lot.
While the Red River rises, the bayous and waterways in South Bossier which feed into the Red will see backwater flooding, including Loggy Bayou, Flat River and Red Chute Bayou. As a result, officials believe backwater flooding from where Loggy Bayou meets the Red River could occur as far north as Highway 527 and possibly even further north.
Parish and city officials are coordinating with businesses and residents along the Red River, including the casinos, River Bluff, Cash Point and others, to determine any impact the rising Red may have on them. Although parish officials do not encourage individuals to stay in their homes despite flood conditions, there are items which should be stockpiled with plenty of canned foods, bottled drinking water, alternative power and light sources and well-charged communication devices.
Sheriff Whittington advises residents in South Bossier to plan ahead – have an evacuation plan in place, move your livestock to higher ground and stock up on needed supplies.
“Some roads will become impassable, and you should never drive through roadways that have water flowing – turn around, don’t drown,” Whittington added.
Inmates have also filled some 31,000 sandbags as of May 30, and more will be filled as crews work around the clock to help residents of Bossier Parish. Officials predict residents south of Highway 527, including Smith Road, Poole Road, McDade Road and others in that area, will be the most impacted.
For those affected by the flood, the Sheriff’s Office is encouraging residents to stop by Elm Grove Elementary School to pick up sandbags. Residents can also get sandbags at the Bossier Parish Highway Department Maintenance Barn, 410 Mayfield St. in Benton, and the Bossier City Public Service Complex, 3223 Old Shed Rd. in Bossier City, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays.
Officials will continue to monitor the rising Red River and provide updates as necessary. Residents are encouraged to call the Bossier Sheriff’s Office at 318-965-2203 or 911 if they are have an emergency.