Rain closes St. Mary Parish schools
By JEAN KAESS and
Five inches of rain overnight in the Tri-City area brought only minor street flooding and school closures, but flash flood warnings and the threat of yet more rain remains in the forecast.
The St. Mary Parish school system announced Tuesday evening that school was canceled today. A decision is planned by 3 p.m. about closures for Thursday.
No word has been handed down about when the days will be made up. Students have only made up one of the three days they missed due to Hurricane Isaac earlier this school year.
The next available day to make up missed time is May 30, the day after report card day, which also is a makeup day from Hurricane Isaac, according to Superintendent Donald Aguillard.
Central Catholic High School and neighboring Holy Cross also were closed, as per diocesan policy that they follow the public school system, Central Catholic Principal Vic Bonnaffee said.
As long as the public school system remains closed, Bonnaffee said the two parochial schools would remain out of school.
All St. Martin Parish public schools also are closed today. This includes St. Martin Parish School Board Offices.
Duval Arthur, St. Mary Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness director, said Tuesday night that the decision to close schools was made after National Weather Service officials told Aguillard and himself that St. Mary and Iberia parishes would be the hardest hit by the system moving through the area and could experience 16 to 17 inches of rain between Tuesday night and Thursday morning.
The official forecast, however, did not call for quite that much rain.
Roger Erickson of the National Weather Service said the Morgan City area has seen about three inches of rain so far, but local rain gauges were measuring around five inches.
Another round of rain is expected later this afternoon and into the night, Erickson said. Another up to four inches of rain is possible through Thursday afternoon, when the rain is expected to taper off in the Morgan City area, Erickson said.
Two bands of showers and thunderstorms were moving north along the Texas/Louisiana coastal areas this morning. Erickson is forecasting three to five inches of rain in each of these bands, wherever they move onshore through today. Exactly which counties and parishes will see the bands is still to be determined, he said.
The area has not seen much severe weather, just a “rain event,” Erickson said. The area is seeing an “active weather pattern” and more rain is expected to begin Saturday and continue through next week, Erickson said. He is not expecting severe thunderstorms.
Also, the Atchafalaya River at Morgan City rose from 2.4 feet to 2.7 feet between 7 p.m. Tuesday and 7 a.m. today, according to the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service.
In Morgan City, there were no reports of flooding.
Mayor Tim Matte said city pumps operated all night. Crews got to the pumps early and pumped down the ditches, so the ditches had the capacity to hold some rain, he said.
“The Walnut Street Canal rose four to five inches, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the amount of rain we got,” Matte said.
The rain gauge at the city’s water plant recorded five inches of rain overnight.
In Berwick, Mayor Louis Ratcliff said there was five inches of rain with no reported problems.
The City of Patterson had between 4 and 6 inches of rain, Mayor Rodney Grogan said. A few barricades were placed temporarily overnight by public works employees, Patterson police and trustees in low lying areas on Cleveland Street, Williams Street, Camille Drive, Mike Drive and Waveland Street as a preventative measure to keep water from being pushed into yards and homes.
Arthur said that minor street flooding was seen parish wide; however, most municipalities have drainage pumps. No residential flooding was reported.