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Storms drench River Parishes

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / September 14, 1998

LAPLACE – High gusty wind and drenching rain kept local officials busy this week, as Tropical Storm Frances nosed into Texas and sent bands of thunderstorms and tornadoes into the River Parishes.

Two waterspouts were reported near Manchac Thursday, St. John CivilDefense Director Bertram Madere said. A tornado was suspected to havetouched down briefly in a cane field off Airline Highway between Main Street and McReine Road on the north side of Airline, Lt. Michael Tregre ofthe St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office reported Friday morning.Meanwhile, schools closed Friday morning in St. Charles Parish, whilepublic works personnel kept pumps running to keep street flooding to a minimum.

Thursday and Friday rains also caused a host of accidents, including an overturned 18-wheeler on the west bank of St. John Parish on Friday. Also,Union Carbide, Taft, reported a naphta tank vapor release Thursday at 11 p.m. due to rain submerging a floating roof, according to St. CharlesEmergency Operations Director Tab Troxler.

This brought about closing of River Road through the Taft area for much of Friday.

Capt. Patrick Yoes reported late Friday that the Carbide event was likelyto continue through Saturday afternoon.

Troxler continued that St. Charles Parish was under a tornado warningtwice Thursday night, but none were sighted.

More squall lines were due through midday Friday but with gradual clearing into the weekend. Eight to nine inches of rainfall were reported inHahnville Thursday night, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.Road closings reported Friday in St.Charles Parish included Courville,Primrose, Santa Cruz, De Soto, Almedia Road, St. Rose Avenue, Milling atTalbot, 200 block of Mimosa, 200 block of Monsanto, part of Magnolia Ridge Road, East Harding from Ninth to Airline Highway, and two access ramps of Interstate 310 at Airline Highway.

Portions of Ormond Boulevard were also blocked for a time by water, including Plantation Road to the ICG tracks and from Airline Highway to the KCS tracks.

In St. John Parish, Madere reported minor street flooding, including theclosing of streets where flooding is a regular occurrence, such as Homewood Place, Reserve.

Other flooded roads included Capt. G. Bourgeois, Hackberry, Peavine Road,Paula and Pine streets.

Winds from the south were holding off flooding from Lake Pontchartrain, Madere added, but the lake is backed up due to Frances’s influence on the Gulf of Mexico.

A reading of 5.2 inches was reported by Madere during Thursday night.Schools, however, remained open Friday.

“We should have a sunny day tomorrow,” Madere predicted Friday afternoon.

St. James Parish Emergency Preparedness Director Gerald Falgoustreported that drainage-wise, the parish was doing OK, “as long as we continue to get breaks in the rain, we’ll do OK. All highways are open andthere are no road closures.”Schools likewise remained open in St. James Parish.

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