A Thousand Year Flood

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“A 1,000 Year Rain in 2 Days”

 

It set records that may never be broken in our lifetime, or our children’s. Newscasters struggled with how to characterize the immensity for viewers. More than TWO FEET of rain fell on numerous locations in central Louisiana, in areas that have never been considered flood zones. And as the rain filled streets and drove rivers and creeks over their banks, the overload of water flowed south and flooded even more areas. USA calculated that the summed depth from the 57 areas of flooding was greater than the height statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial and almost as deep as the White House is tall.

What this has meant to the people of Louisiana is that 60,000 homes have flooded. The damage was comparable to Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina. But as the National Weather Service stated, “it didn’t meet the criteria that the Weather Service has for it to be considered a tropical cyclone, so it was just a low pressure area.” It took days for the national media to notice the extend of the disaster.

Some areas that flooded were in flood plains, but many of the areas affected were NOT expected to flood. In those communities, flood insurance was not required and some homeowners say they were discouraged from purchasing it. Now, they face an uncertain future and their communities worry about a “mass migration” if homeowners decide that recovery is too costly and the risk is no longer acceptable.

There is a decade of work ahead, and tens of thousands of volunteers and contractors will be needed. NOLAH is starting in the Baker, LA area, just north of Baton Rouge. Homeowners there were not in a flood plain, and experienced from 2 to 6 feet of water. We hope to work with uninsured homeowners who lack the resources to completely repair their homes, and bring back this small community.