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|Storm pounds Catahoula; 11 inches of rain recorded in Jonesville in 24 hours|
The remnants of Hurricane Gustav dropped 11 inches of rain in Jonesville during a 24-hour period ending Wednesday morning and a total of 19 inches since Sunday.
In some areas of Catahoula Parish, rainfall may have totaled two feet.
The torrents flooded parts of the parish, particularly Jonesville, where 100 or more homes were flooded and rescue efforts launched to get residents to safety.
Johnny Trisler with the Tensas Basin Levee District recorded the rainfall amounts at the district's Jonesville office. He said the Sicily Island Levee System's pumping plants at the Haha and Fool River were turned on Wednesday morning.
Catahoula Sheriff James Glen Kelley was involved in rescue efforts Wednesday. Prior to that, Kelley said trees were uprooted throughout the parish and that power from one end of Catahoula to the other was initially lost. While much of the power remained out Wednesday, the northern end, particularly in the Sicily Island and upper Tensas River regions had some power restored.
Concordia Electric crews were working around the clock throughout the storm.
Mayor Hiram Evans of Jonesville said this morning that dozens of homes were flooded in town, and police, fire and rescue personnel were trying to get those residents out of harm's way.
He estimated that rainfall in town may have exceeded 18 inches since Monday. From 9 p.m. until 3 a.m. today, Evans said five inches of rain fell and another "three inches or so since that time."
There was an estimated two feet of water on Mound Street earlier today, and streets flooded included Division and Martin Luther King among others.
"The rain is coming on and off and at times it's pretty heavy," he said earlier today. "We've had a lot of young people coming in and helping us get people out of these flooding situations. We're going into peoples' home and helping them get out."
Evans said several churches, despite the fact that they had no electricity, were providing shelters, including St. Mark, St. Mary, Ackland Baptist, Wallace Ridge and Liberty Worship Center.
"We had high winds, trees uprooted," said Evans since the storm hit Monday night, he said. "Most of our power line problems are related to the big limbs falling out of trees although many trees were uprooted."
"We're still out of lights," he said. "We're powered by Concordia Electric and LEPA (Louisiana Energy & Power Authority."
Evans said a LEPA official told him today that he's "still not sure why we're not getting electricity. We were told that LEPA was talking with Entergy about our problems here."
He said efforts were being made to find generators to operate a sewerage pump.
"We've made a request to the governor's office of Homeland security for a generator to pull some of this water off of the town," he said.
At 9 a.m., Evans said the Exxon station was "connecting to a generator and would be able to serve customers, particularly with gas."
"One of our biggest needs is ice," said Evans. "And we need meals for many people. We have requested Homeland Security and the Red Cross for this assistance. They all say they are snowed under but will try to help."
Evans said that three-phase generators are desperately needed.
In Sicily Island, Police Chief Paul Jackson said, "I've never in my life seen this much water. I had to go back and get in my truck after my patrol car drowned out."
He said this morning that no homes were flooded but that some streets were under water.
"We got at least a foot of rain," he said, noting that water was over much of the stretch of Hwy. 15 through town.
Some camps and homes along Lake Louis may have been flooded and Jackson said "water was boiling through one culvert of the highway. People below that culvert had to get out."
John Stringer, the director of the Tensas Basin Levee District, said the Ouachita River at Monroe is expected to rise 11 feet over the next few days.
"We had a tropical system come through this region in 1978 that dropped 12 to 14 inches of rain which was as bad as this," said Stringer. "The difference is that the ground now is much more saturated than it was then."
He said most of the rain water was "gravity-flowing" through the district drainage systems and that pumps would be turned on where needed.
"This is as much water as I have witnessed in the past 32 years," he said. "We should see some relief from all of this in the near future but, unfortunately, we've got our eye on some other systems that are moving westwardly."
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