Wet weather forecast for weekend; possible flash floods
Published 5:01 pm Friday, October 23, 2015
While Hurricane Patricia stormed onto Mexico’s Pacific coast Friday with winds reaching 200 mph if not more, Southeast Texans geared up for torrential rains resulting from unstable energy caused by the Category 5 hurricane.
Between 5 to 7 inches of rain, and the possibility of flash flooding, is expected across the Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana region over the weekend and into Monday morning.
Andy Tingler, meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Lake Charles office, said rains are anticipated to begin late Saturday.
Earlier Saturday, winds will be breezy with occasional sprinkles.
Heavy rains are expected to move across Texas Saturday night through Sunday evening, Tingler said.
Local storms are the result of Hurricane Patricia, which is forecast to tear up going over the mountains of Mexico, but will still produce a lot of energy.
That energy, Tingler said, will allow another area of low pressure to form.
Winds associated with the system could gust to as much as 40 mph along the coast, and 20 to 25 mph inland. During thunderstorms, winds could be higher.
The system is expected to move out of the area Monday, but in the meantime, Southeast Texans are warned to be cautious.
Major John Owens, Port Arthur Emergency Management Coordinator, urged people to stay indoors if at all possible.
“The thing about this weather is it is unpredictable,” Owens said. “We can get 5 to 7 inches, or only an inch. It all depends on where the heavy rain bands are.”
Owens said heavy rainfall is not new to the area, and that the city is prepared.
“We are monitoring the weather, our streets and drainage departments are on standby to handle any situation where drainage is a problem,” Owens said.
In the event of flooded streets, Owens said to beware.
“Turn around; don’t drown,” Owens said. “If you approach any streets that are flooded in standing water, do not under any circumstances drive through because the depth of water can be very deceiving.”
It only takes a few inches of water to lose traction, and a car can actually float. Moving water is much more dangerous because a driver can lose control of their vehicle, Owens said.
During heavy rains, culverts and ditches should be cleared of obstructions.
“If we have a clogged ditches or drainpipes it can definitely cause problems because it does not allow the water to drain for whole neighborhood,” Owens said.
Emergency workers will be monitoring the weather throughout the weekend, while others are making preparations.
“Our streets and drainage departments are on standby to handle any situation where drainage is a problem,” Owens said. “We are preparing for the worse, while hoping for the best, but we are prepared.”