CPPJ 'real-time flood coverage' weather system could be happening soon

CPPJ 'real-time flood coverage' weather system could be happening soon
(Source: KPLC)

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - It's been almost a year since the idea of creating a weather alert system focused on flooding was talked about by Calcasieu Parish leaders.

Now the idea is slowly turning into reality.

A weather alert system focused on real-time flood coverage in Calcasieu Parish was something parish public works director Allen Wainwright was talking about nearly a year ago, but now action could be coming soon.

"Not only is this a forecast for rain, but now a forecast for actual impact at an actual location near your home or near a school," said Wainwright.

The area just off of West McNeese Street drains into the Contraband Bayou and already has the tools in place for a pilot system.

The system could alert those in the area about potential street flooding through the parish's website or alerts on your phone.

Originally the system would cost around $100,000 that garnered mixed reviews from residents last year. 
"I think it would be beneficial for people," said resident Katie Aquino. "They want to see how much their area is flooding."

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

"I think it should go towards that because if it's going towards that it could probably save stuff," said resident Elizabeth Walter.

But to add visual animations to the system another $50,000 needed to be added. That extension would be split and paid for by the parish, the City of Lake Charles and the Port of Lake Charles in a cooperative agreement if each entity approves it.

Jade Miller works in the stormwater management division and monitors the rain gauges throughout our parish. He believes this pilot program could expand to help other areas like the Kayouchee Coulee.

"We actually have gauges on Kayouchee Coulee," said Miller. "We have three or four gauges there now in that watershed that monitor it daily. If it's successful and we have a lot of input and support for this program I could see it going to other watersheds in the parish."

But with the city and the port possibly on board, Wainwright believes this could be a beneficial system for the parish.

"It's just a good team effort here to bring a good product to the citizens of Calcasieu Parish," said Wainwright.

The cooperative endeavor agreement will be voted in the upcoming weeks. If all entities approve the pilot program then Wainwright says it could be up and running in a few months.

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