Persistent heavy rain soaks area
Published 2:31 pm Monday, December 5, 2016
A long, hard rain fell on Southeast Texans all day Saturday as a severe weather front swept over the area.
And while several roads, ditches and front yards may have flooded over during the dreary day, the drainage systems as commanded by Jefferson County Drainage District 7 appeared to be up to the task.
“We definitely have had worse, but it’s on the upper end of a lot of rain,” Ronnie Hollier, supervisor for DD7, said. “We’ve had about 6 inches today, which is above average.”
The Jefferson County Drainage District 7 (DD7) covers drainage systems in several areas including Port Arthur, Groves, part of Central Gardens and parts of South Jefferson County.
DD7 has 20 pump stations across the county that, if all combined, could pump 8.2 million gallons of water per minute.
“It’s a pretty large area,” Hollier said. “About 107 square miles.”
When asked if Saturday’s unusually high amount of rainfall presented any unique challenges for the DD7 stations and crews, Hollier said, “I think the only difficult thing is when we get rains that produce very large amounts of water in very short amounts of time.”
Nevertheless, Hollier said, the district’s capacities were well within acceptable limits.
“As a matter of fact, our complete system was within its limits the whole time,” Hollier said. “We never got out of our limits — not even close.”
Hollier said that DD7 has centers opened and manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.
“We have a page system that whenever it rains, it would deploy men to different stations,” Hollier said. “And it would get employees to different sites to make sure it doesn’t get run over.”
According to Hollier, Jefferson County DD7 crews regularly monitor for rain systems and prepare for them before they reach the area.
“We’re in contact with Greg Bostwick (of KFDM) who gave us a call of what to expect,” Hollier said.
“We don’t wait until after it starts raining,” Hollier said. “Most cases we’re here waiting for the rain.”
According to Hollier, “Anytime, our pumps will be on.”