ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - If viewing this story on a mobile device or in an email, click the link for additional features - http://bit.ly/2bwbAT4
UPDATE TUESDAY, AUG. 16: Ascension Parish has been declared a federal disaster area. The water was still rising in parts of Ascension Parish on Tuesday and officials continued to encourage people to get out of areas inundated with water. Officials urged them to go to Lamar Dixon in Gonzales if they have no where else to go. The water rose on several parts of Airline Highway, prompting further closures. Mayor Mike Lambert said 3' to 4' of water was expected in Sorrento. St. Amant Vol. Fire Chief James LeBlanc said Gonzales and Sorrento would be impacted further Tuesday. He said water was still flowing from Laurel Ridge Levee in St. Amant and the water was going over the levee. He added water will not leave some houses until the weekend.
As of around 10 p.m. Tuesday, the Ascension Parish Government offered the following updates:
MONDAY, AUG. 15: The situation in Ascension Parish worsened overnight as the Amite River began to crest. Officials say some areas will get worse before they get better.
Late Sunday and early Monday morning residents in St. Amant, Galvez, the lake area, and Henderson Bayou, saw an increase of water. Many roadways in those areas are now closed.
Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley says those in the Alligator Bayou area and Bridge Road area should expect to see things get a little worse in the coming hours.
Those in Ascension Parish, particularly in the St. Amant, Galvez and Gonzales areas, may have seen a drop in water Sunday, but officials warn that the water will rise again. A voluntary evacuation has been issued for the area and officials hope the public will take the warning to heart.
"Many resident are already experiencing backwater flooding," said Meredith Conger with the OHSEP. "We are aware that several roads have been covered with water and we expect that number to rise."
Those located to the east of Airline Hwy. will likely see more issues than those to the west.
"We anticipate areas north of Hwy 42 and east of 431 to experience significant flooding. The area between Port Vincent and Gold Place Road is impacted now and will get worse over the next 24 hours. Hwy 42 and the lake area is seeing an impact now and will also worsen over the next 24 hours. South of Gold Place and East of Hwy 431 will be impacted depending on the elevations from the Amite River. Stringer Bridge Road to Hwy 22 is the next area that we expect to be impacted within the next 24-hours."
According to Parish President Kenny Matassa, a voluntary evacuation has been issued for areas north of LA 42 and east of LA 431 because they are low-lying areas. The Lamar Dixon Expo Center is currently housing roughly 600 people. He says they are capable of taking more people.
Officials report that the Henderson Bayou pumping station was shut off at 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon due to the "level of water on the outside of the flood gate being too large to pump." They say the gate is now functioning as a flood gate and is holding back a "significant amount of water from Manchac and its tributaries."
The tributaries are the source of flooding that is already being experienced further south of Manchac.
Officials did note that there have been no breaks or structural damage to the levees.
Ascension Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness released a flood zone map that highlights areas they think will have moderate to major flooding.
Residents are urged to use the map as a point of reference for estimated risk zones.