Calcasieu Parish Police Jury talks 'real-time flood coverage' we - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Calcasieu Parish Police Jury talks 'real-time flood coverage' weather system

(Source: KPLC) (Source: KPLC)
CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) -

When it rains in Southwest Louisiana, you can bet certain streets will always start to flood. 

"I know Maplewood does really bad," said resident Katie Aquino. 

"If I'm going to Lake Charles, you got to look out for Nelson," said resident Elizabeth Walter. 

"It's pretty guaranteed that Prien Lake is going to be going under," said resident John Barnes. "The Ryan Street exit will be under first."

But the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury is in the process of creating a new weather alert system that will focus specifically on streets in the parish. 

"It's really a evolution of flood forecasting, and a combination of both weather forecast and computer modeling of flood events," said Allen Wainwright, parish public works director.  

Wainwright says by combining both of those aspects it will create real-time flood forecasting.

"What it will be able to provide is a seven-day forecast for street-level flooding forecast," he said. 

Which means this new system will show you what three to six inches of rain would look like specifically on your street. 

"The common reoccurring flooding areas, I think that's going to be a pretty helpful tool to help point towards the areas that need projects to go try and fix that," said Wainwright. 

This weather alert system would cost close to $100,000, which would come from the storm water management budget. And while Wainwright believes this money is going towards a good use, there were mixed reviews from people in the community.  

"I think it will be beneficial for people," said Aquino. "They want to see how much their area's flooding."

"I'd rather the money go towards working on the drainage itself instead of telling us we're going to flood," said Barnes. 

"I think it should go to that, because if it's going towards that it could probably save stuff, like save animals, save people and all that," said Walter. 

But overall Wainwright believes this new system will be a key feature in fixing our area's never-ending drainage problem. 

"Everything we can do to predict an event and be prepared for it is a positive in terms of reducing the hazards and the ultimate damages," said Wainwright. 

The parish is currently working on a pilot program for the weather alert system that will focus on the Contraband Bayou watershed.

Wainwright hopes to have the system up and ready on the Calcasieu Parish website in less than a year. 

Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved. 

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