Calcasieu leadership: Tropical Storm Nicholas should not be taken lightly

Published 7:30 pm Monday, September 13, 2021

Calcasieu Parish officials during a news conference Monday said Southwest Louisiana residents should take Tropical Storm Nicholas seriously. It is expected to produce 5-10 inches of rainfall Tuesday, with local areas getting up to 10-15 inches.

Calcasieu Office of Emergency Preparedness Director Dick Gremillion said Nicholas could bring rainfall totals similar to the May event in Lake Charles that caused widespread flooding of homes and businesses. He told residents to stay safe and avoid driving on flooded roadways.

“(Tuesday) would be a good day to stay home if you don’t have anything to do,” Gremillion said. “We certainly don’t need people riding around just to see what’s going on. We can tell you it’s going to be raining, probably a lot.”

Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso said staging areas are set up to rescue residents impacted by floodwater throughout the parish. The Sheriff’s Office has high-water vehicles available, along with boat crews that have been in Lafourche Parish assisting with Hurricane Ida recovery. The Louisiana National Guard arrived in Calcasieu Parish Monday to help law enforcement, if needed, he said.

“I think we’re overly prepared, should we get this event,” Mancuso said. “You need to be prepared to take action also. Common sense has to come into play now at this point.”

The wind from Tropical Storm Nicholas should not be strong enough to damage power lines, Gremillion said. While Nicholas will produce some storm surge, ranging from 2-4 feet in some areas, that should not impact much of Southwest Louisiana.

River flooding could occur later in the week, depending on the amount of rainfall, Gremilion said. This could mainly impact the Calcasieu River, but officials are also monitoring the Sabine River, he said.

Calcasieu Police Jury President Brian Abshire said he issued a state of emergency proclamation ahead of Nicholas’ landfall.