Torrential downpours cause flooding problems around New Orleans

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Torrential downpours cause flooding problems around New Orleans

Heavy rain began in New Orleans East around 6 a.m. Friday and lasted well into the afternoon hours. Photo courtesy of the New Orleans Fire Department

Heavy rain over the past two days has led to flooding across streets in New Orleans, with more than 5 inches of rain being reported in some areas in just 12 hours.

As of 1:30 p.m. Friday, dozens of streets around New Orleans were flooded, according to Streetwise New Orleans. Heavy rain began in New Orleans East around 6 a.m. Friday and lasted well into the afternoon hours.

A vast majority of major drainage pumps in New Orleans East were functional, according to nola.com. However, the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board’s system is only designed to keep up with an inch of rainfall in an hour followed by a half-inch every additional hour.

Much of New Orleans sits 5 to 10 feet below mean sea level, making the city more prone to flooding.

Torrential downpours cause flooding problems around New Orleans

“All pumps in New Orleans East, where street flooding is occurring, are working but the rain has outpaced the system’s capacity to pump the water away,” S&WB spokesperson Grace Birch told nola.com.

Nearly 5 inches of rain had fallen at Lakefront Airport, located about 6 miles northeast of downtown New Orleans. About 4 miles to the northeast of New Orleans, a water rescue took place while vehicles were stalled, according to a National Weather Service spotter report. Flooding was also reported around the University of New Orleans at around 11 a.m.

The New Orleans Fire Department told people to avoid the Seabrook Bridge area due to severe flooding in the area on Friday. The Seabrook Bridge connects the Gentilly neighborhood in New Orleans with New Orleans East, including Lakefront Airport.

Multiple vehicles were stalled with water covering the road just to the northwest of New Orleans. Water was also covering almost a quarter of a mile near Kenner, Louisiana, with one side having around 6-12 inches of standing water.

To the southwest of New Orleans, water was overflowing from the canal and roads were flooded near Camelia St in New Orleans East, according to reports from the National Weather Service.

A waterspout was spotted over Lake Pontchartrain near the Lakeview neighborhood as a severe thunderstorm moved over the area just before 9 a.m. The waterspout could be seen from the West End of New Orleans, according to nola.com.

Many streets remain closed around New Orleans East, according to Fox 8. More than 23,000 customers in Louisiana were without power as of 2 p.m. local time, according to PowerOutage.US. At 8 p.m., more than 12,000 in Louisiana were still without power.

Multiple flash flood warnings were issued in southeastern Louisiana throughout the morning and afternoon on Friday as widespread showers continued across the state. A flash flood warning was in effect for parts of Jefferson and West Central Orleans Parish until 3:15 p.m.

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