The inexorable approach of Tropical Storm Lee towards Louisiana has already raised the water levels in Lake Pontchartrain and flooded roads across the lower parts of St. Tammany Parish.
Lake Pontchartrain, an inland body of water, is subject to storm surges during hurricanes, which can lead to the flooding of the towns of New Orleans as Metairie, which are on the lake’s southern shores.
St. Tammany Parish comprises a region on the north coast of Lake Pontchartrain. The principal cities in the Parish are Slidell, Mandeville, Covington and Lacombe.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune also reports that power has been lost in some homes in Slidell, by gathering rains and winds.
Kevin Davis, president of St. Tammany Parish, beseeched residents in a written statement on the community website to please stay off the roads if at all possible.
At 7:30 a.m. (local time), Davis warned: “Waters continue to rise in Lake Pontchartrain, flooding roads in low lying areas. The City of Mandeville reported that they are putting up barricades along Lakeshore Drive this morning. Expect all roads in low-lying areas to take some water during this storm. Do not drive on flooded roads.”
He also noted that sandbag stations have opened across the Parish and in the towns of Slidell and Mandeville.
“We are under a tornado watch,” Davis added. “I expect this to continue off and on as squalls and bands cross the parish. We are watching stream gauges very closely. Wind speeds have been increasing through the night. That will continue through the day. Please stay off roads today if at all possible.”
By 9:00 a.m. (local time), Davis provided an update, saying the flooding had been reported in Covington's Three Rivers are and the Indian Village area east of Slidell.
“Some roads in these areas are not passable by car,” he wrote. “Water in these areas will continue to rise with the rivers. Expect road closures. We need to remember that as the lake rises, the rivers and bayous cannot empty into the lake. Inland areas bordering waterways need to monitor this situation closely. All low lying areas along the coast should prepare for water in roadways.”
He further stated that flooding has been witnessed on roads in Coin du Lestin, Bayou Liberty, areas southeast of Slidell, lower Lacombe, and the Mandeville lakefront.
“Roads in these areas are being closed as necessary. Do not enter flooded areas,” he added.
Weather officials expect that Tropical Storm Lee could drench Gulf Coast with between 10 to 15 inches of rain through Sunday – some areas may get dumped with an astounding 20 inches.
Such a huge among of rainfall is likely cause widespread flooding, power outages and fallen trees.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has declared a state of emergency for the state.