Heavy rains have increased the levels of local rivers and lakes rendering some boat launches unusable. (Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Friday, January 11, 2013 12:28 PM
Rain gauges placed throughout Calcasieu Parish indicated the parish received an average of 5 inches of rainfall over the last two days, Allen Wainwright, the parish’s public works director, said Thursday.
Wainwright said the parish has 32 rain gauges, which measure inches of rainfall per hour, and “stage gauges,” which measure water elevation in ditches and drainage laterals. He said the highest recorded rainfall amount this week was 6.5 inches, and the lowest was about 3 inches.
“That tells you we got equally dispersed rain,” Wainwright said. “Over a 36-hour period, average rainfall intensities were relatively low, which was a good thing. Because those intensities stayed low, we didn’t get the super critical flash flooding effects you can get.”
The parish has built a network to gauge rainfall for the last three years, he said. The gauges are solar powered, and Wainwright said the public works office receives radio signals for every tenth of an inch of rainfall.
“We get live data directly from the field,” he said. “It gives us a good cross-section of rainfall amounts in the parish. It’s information we can work with directly.”
There are 54 additional stage gauges placed throughout the parish in areas that officials believe could be developed over time, Wainwright said. These gauges are read manually.
“That information can be used to tell how high to build your house and calibrate models of (drainage) laterals,” he said.
Wainwright said the live data from the gauges helps parish officials find out the areas where rainfall was the most intense. He said this information can help officials with the parish Office of Emergency Preparedness in responding to a significant weather event.
“That points us to where we might expect problems,” he said. “It is one of the ways everyone tries to work together to manage through these events.”