200-plus homes flooded, Jewell declares state of emergency following Thursday rainfall

200-plus homes flooded, Jewell declares state of emergency following Thursday rainfall

More than 200 St. Charles Parish residents reported water inundated their homes during an unexpected heavy rainfall event Thursday night, prompting St. Charles Parish President Matt Jewell to declare a State of Emergency for the parish.

The National Weather Service reported between 8 and 12 inches of rain fell upon areas of St. Charles Parish within a 90 minute span, with the most damaged areas on the parish’s East bank.

“Destrehan and Ormond were hit the most,” St. Charles Parish President Matt Jewell said Thursday evening. “We had some in Norco, a couple in New Sarpy and St. Rose, but that Destrehan, Ormond-encompassing area were probably the hardest hit.”

What was supposed to be a day of reopening locally, along with much of the rest of the state in the first day John Bel Edwards’ stay-at-home order has been lifted since it was issued March 22 for Louisiana residents. But for many, this represents a personal setback, and parish-wide, it tempered any celebration for the time being.

The National Weather Service forecasted between one and two inches of rain would fall on the region, a far cry from the reality of the storm.

“That was a huge miss,” said Jewell, who earlier in the day said  via a video posted to the Parish’s Facebook page that the weather service communicated the outcome was a potential 500-year rain event. “But all of our pumps were operational. They were running, but that’s just such a massive amount of water for any station to keep up with.

“We’re taking (Friday) night seriously, too, making sure everything’s clear (for incoming weather).”

The National Weather Service predicts two inches of rain will fall upon the area Friday evening.

Parish crews have been cleaning up debris and other things blocking drainage outlets, as the water moving into yards Thursday night in many cases pulls leaves into catch basins, ditches and culverts. Additionally, residents are encouraged to clean ditches and catch basins near their homes if needed, and if they are unable to do so, may contact the EOC at 985-783-5050.

“Tomorrow morning we’ll have crews out cleaning again to make sure everything’s good,” Jewell said. “We’ll be monitoring today’s rain just like we were yesterday.”

For residents who did incur water damage, Jewell stressed the importance of reaching out to their respective insurance companies and documenting damage both inside the home and also photos of damaged items removed from the home. He also encouraged caution in where to set those removed items and the importance of making sure they do not block any part of the area’s drainage system.

“And anyone with a flooded home, if they haven’t already, needs to report that to the EOC (Emergency Operations Center),” Jewell said. “We need that data when we go to FEMA for assistance, and it’s important for upcoming drainage studies to show where we have or have had problems during a rain event.”

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