City of LC proactive ahead of storm

The city of Lake Charles is bracing for Tropical Depression Harvey, expected to make landfall in Southwest Louisiana late Friday and to continue for several days.

Department heads briefed Mayor Nic Hunter, who took office in July, on the city’s emergency weather procedure Wednesday, and together they identified ways to be “more proactive than in the past,” Hunter said. 

One way is by having public works employees check storm drains and catch basins, especially those in flood-prone areas, before the rain comes to make sure they aren’t blocked by existing debris.

Another is by placing barricades on neutral ground near the edge of high-risk roads so that barricades will be on hand when flooding begins, Hunter said. He said public works employees, police officers and firefighters will be authorized to move the barricades into the road.

“We’ve had so many weather events in Southwest Louisiana, and we’ve learned so many lessons from each one,” Hunter said. “It’s important that when one does come up, we don’t forget those lessons.”

He said public works employees will watch the roads “day and night” once the storm comes to make sure drains stay clear of debris and that roads are properly barricaded.

The city is also asking residents to do their part by picking up toys, limbs and other loose items that may clog catch basins and to tune into local news agencies, said spokesman Matt Young.

Hunter urged residents not to drive fast down flooded roads.

“Even if you feel that driving at a high speed is not going to endanger you, it does endanger homes that border these roads, and it’s just dangerous for other vehicles that are passing by,” Hunter said.

It’s against the law to drive a vehicle in a flooded area “where it may reasonably be foreseen that the waves caused by the movement of the vehicle will cause damage to structures, or wash into the structures,” according to the city code. 

Residents caught doing so could be fined or sentenced to community service.

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