Ponchatoula residents concerned they will flood again

Hurricane Ida

PONTCHATOULA, La. (WGNO) — As Louisiana braces for heavy rain from Hurricane Nicholas, some people are still dealing with previous storms.

Multiple families in Ponchatoula are preparing for potentially another flood just two weeks after Hurricane Ida.

Governor John Bel Edwards says over the next several days that flash flooding will be a major issue. Many areas across Southeast Louisiana are still devastated not only by Hurricane Ida, but Hurricanes Laura and Delta in Southwest Louisiana last year. The big issue will be debris blocking ditches and other waterways.

On Wild Oaks Lane, furniture, toys and other priceless memories are piled along the street.

“Everything we have is out here in my yard. We work hard all our lives for this and to see it get washed away for no reason,” said Tim Matthews.

His family as well as several neighbors flooded during Hurricane Ida and multiple other storms since the Flood of 2016.

“We can lose toys, we can lose furniture, but the memories…you can’t get those back,” Matthews said.

Matthews and his neighbors are concerned ditches up the road are clogged. Some are overgrown and others have trash dumped in them. As the tropics continue to brew, residents are worried they will flood again.

“Don’t forget about us. We’re going through a lot here too. It’s hard on us and we just ask for all the help that other parishes are getting. We need it here. We need some of this other stuff cleaned up before we get other storms that will flood us worse,” Matthews said.

In a release on Monday, Governor Edwards said:

On Monday, Gov. John Bel Edwards requested a pre-landfall Federal Declaration of Emergency in a letter to President Joseph R. Biden in advance of Tropical Storm Nicholas, which is forecast to bring heavy rainfall and potentially damaging flash flooding to Louisiana this week.

On Sunday, Gov. Edwards declared a state of emergency for Tropical Storm Nicholas, allowing the state to begin its preparations and to assist local governments as they respond. A pre-landfall federal disaster declaration would allow Louisiana to mobilize federal resources the state already has in place as well as to request additional resources if needed.

Louisiana continues to recover from Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Ida, with many homes and businesses still damaged from these events. Heavy rainfall could complicate current storm recovery.

“Nicholas will likely be weakening into a depression as its center slowly moves into Louisiana early Wednesday morning and will exit into Southern Mississippi by Thursday morning. Life-threatening rainfall is our primary concern Tuesday through Thursday, with between six and 10 inches likely across Southwest and South Louisiana with locally higher amounts possible, especially given the slow storm motion. Because of the heavy rainfall this storm will bring, flash flooding will be the greatest threat of this system. It also has the potential to cause river flooding in Southwest and Southeast Louisiana. The ongoing storm recovery will be a compounding threat because homes are already damaged, people are already displaced and storm debris from Ida could be blocking drainage systems, causing rainwater to accumulate more quickly than normal, which will potentially enhance the flash flooding threat,” Gov. Edwards said. “I hope that no one dismisses this threat just because Nicholas is not expected to become a hurricane. I’ll remind everyone that Ida caused significant problems all the way into the Northeast due to flash flooding and tornadoes.”

  • Click here to read Gov. Edwards’ letter to the President.
  • Yesterday, Gov. Edwards declared a state of emergency in advance of Tropical Storm Nicholas. Click here to read that declaration. 

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