Rising Rivers Pose Increasing Threat In South Louisiana
The Vermilion River and the Mermantau River will be a major focus for local and state officials over the next several days and even weeks. Sunday afternoon water from the Mermantau began back flowing through municipal drainage systems in the city of Crowley.
Many portions of that Acadia Parish community are now seeing water in the streets and into the homes of residents.
Residents along the Vermilion River in Lafayette are seeing a similar situation. The historic rainfall of this past Friday and Saturday has simply put water into the river than the river can handle. That means many homes and businesses that have not taken on water in many years are now seeing significant amounts of water.
Officials with the National Weather Service say that the Vermilion is forecast to reach a crest later today of 17.52 feet. This measurement at the Surrey Street gauge will put the river stage about a foot and a half above the threshold for a major flooding event. Minor flooding from the river begins at 10 feet.
High water from the Mermantau River that flows through Jeff Davis, Acadia, and Vermilion Parishes will likely reach historic proportions over the next several days. Officials in many communities have ordered evacuations for residents who live along and near the river. Many officials are suggesting that homes and businesses that haven't been flooded in recent years will see water with this historic flood.
According to the National Weather Service the Mermantau was already 5 feet above the flooding threshold. The forecast for the river, that starts to flood at a level of four feet, suggests that a crest will be reached at 12 feet sometime early Wednesday.
High water from the Mermantau has already forced the closure of Interstate 10 near Crowley. There has been no timetable suggested for when that roadway might reopen. An alternate route for westbound travelers would utilize I-49 north to U.S. 190 west. Then U.S. Highway 165 south to reconnect with I-10. Eastbound travelers would reverse the route. That means U.S. Highway 165 north to U.S. 190 east and then I-49 south to reconnect with I-10 in Lafayette.