Parish doged a bullet; rainfall not as bad as predicted

Washington Parish mostly dodged a bullet over the weekend as predicted heavy rainfall from Tropical Storm Barry failed to materialize.
The National Weather Service had predicted flash flooding for the parish, but last-minute atmospheric changes produced rainfall that was only a small fraction of what had been predicted. There were some violent thunderstorms with strong winds on both Friday and Saturday, but the rainfall totals were not a problem.
Some parish residents in flood-prone areas had already placed sandbags in anticipation of flooding before the tropical storm came ashore south of Lafayette on Saturday. Parish President Richard Thomas earlier in the week had announced sandbag availability locations in the parish.
Washington-St. Tammany Electric Co-op crews, assisted by a contractor, Chain Electric, stayed busy Friday and Saturday addressing outages.
The co-op’s largest outage occurred around noon on Sunday as the west side of Franklinton went dark. WST Manager of Operations Mike Stafford said about 1,100 homes and businesses were affected. Power was out for slightly less than 30 minutes.
Stafford said the outage was likely caused by a limb that fell hard enough on the lines to force the outage, an then the limb fell clear of the lines.
During the entire storm timeframe, 3,538 homes and businesses were without power at some point. Stafford said in each case power was restored fairly quickly.
In addition to repairing outages around the parish, WST also were able late in the weekend to send some crews down to south Louisiana to help another co-op that had been hit hard by the storm.
Rainfall is predicted throughout this week, and parish officials are continuing to monitor river and stream levels.
(In photo above, traffic lights go dark at Main and Washington streets in Franklinton on Sunday due to a power outage.)


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