BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - With area rains finally coming to an end, our complete focus now shifts to the rising river levels in the local area.
We are specifically talking about the Comite, Amite, Tickfaw, and Tangipahoa Rivers in Southeast Louisiana. There is little doubt this event is historic in nature. Some locations that have never flooded before have flooded or will flood over the coming days. The most concerning flood threat remains the lower reaches of the Amite, Tickfaw, and Tangipahoa Rivers.
All residents should listen closely to evacuation orders issued by their parish. Also do not drive vehicles through flooded roadways. If floodwaters have trapped you dial 9-1-1 immediately to seek a water rescue from local emergency responders.
Let's start with the Amite and Comite Rivers. The upper reaches of the Amite (Dehnam Springs, Bayou Manchac Point) are already above flood stage. Port Vincent is still below flood stage at this time. The forecasted crests are currently similar to the flood event caused by Tropical Storm Allison in 2001. That would make this a potentially top 5 crest all-time for Denham Springs, Bayou Manchac and Port Vincent.
If your home or area flooded in the 2011 flood event or if that event came close to flooding your location you should evacuate to higher ground immediately. If you are new to the area and are unsure, ask your neighbors about that event. Or if you know you live in a flood plain, consider evacuation. Evacuate sooner rather than later because some evacuation routes may become inundated with floodwaters and become impassable.
The lower reaches of the Amite River (French Settlement, Maurepas) are currently forecasted to see the worst flooding of all time. This surpasses flood events in 1983, 2001, 1979 & 1977. While the flooding currently in these areas is minor, water upstream is coming your way over the next few days.
The First Alert Storm Team advises anyone that has ever experienced flood waters in French Settlement and Maurepas to evacuate to higher ground as soon as possible. Any resident in these areas that has had flood waters come close to flooding there home should evacuate as soon as possible. Other residents should consider evacuating due to impassable roads in the area with the rising waters. Flood waters in these locations will stay around for several days due to tidal influences of Lake Maurepas.
The Comite River is cresting and will stay steady through Sunday morning before falling. Streams and creeks that feed the Comite could see an additional climb due to back-water flooding. That's because the water in these tributaries has nowhere to go but upstream.
Flood waters along the lower Tickfaw (Holden, Killian/Springfield) and Tangipahoa (Robert) rivers could see a very slight rise still over the next 12 hours especially those residents that live along streams or creeks that feed into these rivers. The streams and creeks will back-flood meaning flood waters have nowhere to go but back upstream. The Tickfaw forecast of 21 feet at Holden would tie the record crest of the historic 1983 flood event. It appears the river may crest below that number early Sunday.
For the most part the worst of the flooding in these locations has already occurred. Flood waters will slowly fall in these areas.