City Recovering from Hurricane Delta; Pumps Help Reduce Damage
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Alexandria, La. (October 10, 2020) — Hurricane Delta swept through Alexandria Friday night with hurricane-force wind gusts and torrential rains that caused significant flooding throughout the city.
The National Weather Service in Lake Charles reports radar indicates Alexandria received an average of 8-10 inches of rainfall Thursday and Friday, with the bulk of the rain coming Friday night. NWS officials noted some locations got higher amounts, with isolated sites reporting as much as 12 inches. They also noted that due to blowing winds and the high rate of rainfall, some gauges may be under reporting actual rainfall.
Utility Director Michael Marcotte said all City of Alexandria drainage pumps ran during the torrential rainfall, including the supplemental pumps placed on Prescott Road. “The pumps prevented a substantial additional flooding in the city,” Marcote said. “Hurricane Delta brought rain that was similar and in some cases worse than Gustav. If water rose only two more inches we would have had to cut power to the Prescott Substation.”
Traffic Superintendent Teresa Allen said the rainfall was as bad as she has seen in her 22-year career with the City of Alexandria. “I’ve never see water flood both sides of the Purple Heart Bridge,” she said noting the roadway from I-49 to Casson Street leading up the bridge flooded as did the approach on the Pineville side of the river. Allen agreed with the comparisons to Hurricane Gustav in 2008. “This one may have had a little more water than Gustav,” she said. “We had more water rescues with Gustav, but this storm rates right up there.”
Wind damage was not as significant as anticipated. There were isolated trees down and approximately 3,100 customers lost electricity with Hurricane Delta compared to the 100 percent loss of service from Hurricane Laura in August. City utility crews as well as municipal partner crews worked quickly to restore service. By noon less than 1,000 customers were without power.
“We expected that we would get heavy rains from Hurricane Delta, and the storm certainly delivered that and more,” said Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall. “We are grateful the wind damage was not that significant. We sustained so much with Hurricane Laura, and we are grateful that we didn’t have the same amount of tree damage and impact to our utility infrastructure. My heart goes out to everyone who has been impacted by the high water from the heavy rains. We’re working to restore power as quickly as we can and we will do all that we can to assist citizens as they work to recover from this devastating storm.”
Customers who are still without power may report outages, downed wires or broken utility poles online through the AlexConnects app or by calling (318) 473-1301. Residents are also reminded to avoid downed lines as they may still be energized. Residents are also encouraged to exercise caution while driving as crews and equipment are clearing debris and making repairs along many roads throughout the city.
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