Schools in Lake Arthur closed on Monday - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Water still a threat in Jeff Davis

JEFF DAVIS PARISH, LA (KPLC) -

Jeff Davis officials on Tuesday were still dealing with flooding issues, now complicated by further rain and cold weather.

Officials, residents and businesses are all keeping a close watch on the levees in Lake Arthur.

The floodwaters crept closer to the top of a levee, but fortunately KPLC is told levels have not risen much since Monday.

So far, the worst of the flooding has been around the town's lakefront area.

Still, officials are worried that more rain and more winds could push the water toward a levee, causing more flooding.

Jeff Davis Sheriff Ivy Woods and Lake Arthur Mayor Robbie Bertrand are asking people with water in their homes or with homes threatened by flooding to evacuate.

Officials say they are still carefully monitoring other levee systems and pumping stations around the town.

School was out at both Lake Arthur Elementary and Lake Arthur High on Tuesday and will be closed again Wednesday. All other schools in Jeff Davis Parish will be open.

Meanwhile, as of Sunday, Jan. 13, the curfew from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. for Lake Arthur was still in effect until further notice.

Hwy. 90 east of Jennings to Hwy. 1126 will be closed until further notice.

Officials on Monday advised that to get to Mermentau, you will need to go around Hwy. 1126 and then hit Hwy. 90. Officials ask residents to drive with caution.

With the threat of flooded homes still a possibility, Entergy is working with local officials in Lake Arthur to stay prepared.

Entergy says for safety reasons, they are required to disconnect electrical service if water levels reach a home's electrical system or enters the house.

The company says it will notify customers in affected areas if such hazards look like they may occur.

Early Sunday morning, Lake Arthur officials and residents were faced with what they knew was bound to happen ever since heavy rains and rain water run-off threatened some levee systems in town.

Levees were breached allowing rising waters from Lake Arthur to spill onto town roads and causing serious street flooding.

KPLC rode along with Jeff Davis Parish officials to survey the extent of the flooding.

"Overnight we had strong southern winds which didn't help us at all," said Bertrand. "That wind from the south pretty much pushed the water over the levees."

Pleasant Street runs along Lake Arthur and has suffered serious street flooding. Officials estimate almost three feet of water on the street.

For homeowners, the floodwaters haven't reached homes yet.

"We haven't gotten any reports of water in people's homes," said Woods, who also serves as the Parish's OEP Director. "We had one call of water in a camp, but that was all."

"We're not out of the woods yet," said Bertrand. "There are still some levees that we're monitoring and are hoping will hold. We just keep waiting and watching."

While waiting and watching, both Bertrand and Woods realize that the road ahead of them is long.

"There's going to be a lot of cleanup," Bertrand said. "Getting all of the streets pumped, cleaning up the park, street patching. It's going to take a lot of work."

And they're determined to learn from this event and get better.

"We'll look at this and see what were our weak points and strong points, how can we do things differently, to prevent anything like this or worse from happening in the future," said Woods.

Click HERE for some floodwater safety tips from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

Copyright 2013 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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