Massive rain swamps metro New Orleans on Saturday

Some businesses and vehicles took on water on Orleans Avenue. Duke Carter reports on the situation.

NEW ORLEANS - A massive series of rain storms dumped between 8 and 10 inches of rain in the metro New Orleans area over about a three-hour time span, flooding streets, stranding motorists and - unlike two weeks ago - getting in to some homes, cars and businesses.

Those who were quick enough to get indoors or get their cars to higher ground considered themselves lucky, but many motorists were trapped with nowhere to go. Some of the same areas that saw flooding just a few weeks ago, again fell prey, this time to even heavier rain.

MORE: Photos from the storm

This time, tempers were short with many wondering if the pumps were working, a constant refrain in New Orleans, but assurances were given by the Sewerage and Water Board that the pumps were indeed working to capacity, but a capacity - one inch in the first hour and half an inch every hour thereafter - that was no match for the training and stationary rain system.

WWL-TV Meteorologist Dave Nussbaum said rain was said to be between 8 and 10 inches in the metro area.

Several people on Facebook wondered how the city would handle a slow-moving hurricane given these two floods in a short time span that seemed to overwhelm the city's systems. 

Cedric Grant, the Executive Director of the Sewerage and Water Board said his system was working at capacity. "It's going to take some time to catch up. We're doing everything we can to move the water out of the city, but it's more than the system was designed to take," he told Eyewitness News' Kristin Pierce on Saturday's 5 & 6 pm newscasts. "At the end of the day, we're accustomed to rains that exceed the capacity of the system. We just have to hunker down and get through it."

Reports of flooded streets came from the Orleans Avenue area, where businesses such has as the Treme Restaurant and the World Famous Willie Mae's Scotch House took on more than a foot of water. Under the Orleans Avenue exit from I-10, dozens of cars were seemingly water logged. The Canal Blvd. train trestle had water up nearly to the area where trains pass and flooding was also reported near the Superdome, in Lakeview, in much of the CBD, on Claiborne Avenue, Esplanade, Broad Street and other areas.

Outlying areas were not spared either with some of the usual suspects like the Elmwood area and Old Mandeville seeing high water.

The RTA system in New Orleans was grounded for several hours as streets were impassable and some cars blocked the streetcar lines.

At least one business on Orleans Avenue had more than a foot of water inside.

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As New Orleanians do, some made the most of a bad situation. At Parlay's bar in Lakeview, some patrons took off their shoes to wade in ankle-deep water and grab a beer. Other people made use of inflatables, kayaks and canoes.

Danica Adams had a boat in the Treme area and said she was able to ferry a couple of people with pressing medical issues through areas where cars couldn't traverse.

"I just wanted to get to my boyfriend who was stuck on Orleans and Broad, and on my way, I ran into a couple of people that needed to get to the hospital," she said. 

Adams said she ran into one woman stuck in a car who needed to get to the hospital to see her brother who had recently had a stroke. She said after she delivered her to her destination, she ran into a person who was stuck in a car and having liver failure. 

"He was calling for an ambulance, but the ambulance couldn't get through the water, so I got him to the ambulance."

© 2017 WWL-TV


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