Flood Waters Receding; Damage Assessment Begins
SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) _ Water dumped by the remnants of Hurricane Bonnie receded enough Saturday in northwestern Louisiana for many residents to return home and begin assessing damage done by rain and wind.
However, some low-lying streets remained impassable and some houses still held water, authorities said.
Dozens of roads and highways in Shreveport and Bossier City were flooded Friday by some 10 inches of rain, as were numerous houses and trailer parks in low-lying areas.
The dwindling storm also whipped tornadoes across the area. There were several minor injuries in rural Webster Parish, where two twisters were reported.
The Louisiana floods and tornadoes were more than 350 miles from where Bonnie came ashore in Texas early Thursday before it was downgraded to a tropical depression. On Saturday, the wet weather spread to the north and east and parts of southern Arkansas and northeastern Louisiana came under flash flood watches.
Officials from the state Office of Emergency Preparedness arrived in Shreveport on Saturday to assess damage and try to determine if the area qualified for disaster assistance, said Chuck Mazziotti, civil defense director for Caddo Parish.
Jeanne Ann Crutchfield of the national Red Cross said an initial survey found about 300 houses in the Shreveport area had some type of damage from Friday’s flooding, in addition to about 50 houses in East Texas.
About 35 of the houses were destroyed and 15 had major damage.
The hurricane had destroyed 12 homes in Port Arthur and Beaumont, Texas.
Crutchfield said she expects those numbers to rise as workers get a chance to examine more isolated areas.
Only one Louisiana fatality was blamed on Bonnie. The body of a 64-year-old man from Kilgore, Texas, was pulled from Cross Lake late Friday. He had been fishing late Thursday when his boat was overturned in rough water and high wind.
Two deaths in Texas were blamed on the storm.
Authorities said Cross Lake was at its highest recorded level Saturday and boaters were asked to stay at least 500 feet from shore because their wakes pushed water into lakeside homes.