Remnants of Hurricane Bonnie Flood Northwest Louisiana
Undated (AP) _ The remnants of storm Bonnie dumped as much as 10 inches of rain on northern Louisiana and spawned several tornadoes, and official said the damage was worse than when the storm was a full-blown hurricane.
″In some areas here in Shreveport, there was 6 to 10 feet of water and we couldn’t get all the way in,″ Red Cross spokeswoman Jeanne Ann Crutchfield said Friday. ″It looks like 296 families sustained damage and it could go higher.″
The storm may be responsible for at least one drowning in Louisiana. A man was still missing late Friday in Cross Lake near Shreveport after wind capsized a fishing boat Thursday night. Two other men from the boat were rescued. The lake was at its highest level ever recorded, the National Weather Service said early today.
The floods and tornadoes in the wake of Bonnie Friday were located more than 350 miles from where the hurricane roared ashore on the Texas coast early Thursday. It has since been downgraded to a tropical depression. Flash-flood watches remained in effect early today in northern Louisiana and southeast Arkansas, the weather service said.
Crutchfield said 35 mobile homes were destroyed, and 50 houses and 35 apartments were heavily damaged in Louisiana.
One tornado demolished a mobile home and damaged outbuildings at Grand Cane in DeSoto Parish. Another flipped over an airplane at Shreveport’s Downtown Airport and damaged nearby roofs. Tornadoes near Springhill and Cullen injured seven people, the weather service reported.
″Really the aftermath of the storm - once it was downdgraded to a tropical storm - has caused more damage,″ Crutchfield said. ″When Bonnie hit in Port Arthur and Beaumont, Texas, it destroyed 12 homes compared to the 35 here.″
″So you can see, here there were more severe losses. It’s really peculiar,″ she said.
In Texas, Friday was a day for cleaning up after the storm, which killed two people there and knocked out power to thousands.
″Everything is getting back to normal,″ said Port Arthur Police Sgt. T.K. Donnell. ″We’ve got some power lines down. A lot of lights are out at intersections. Probably on Monday everything will be back to normal.″
Sharon Englade, spokeswoman for Gulf States Utilities Co., said more than 20,000 customers were still without electricity Friday afternoon in Beaumont, Port Arthur and nearby areas, though that number was being gradually reduced.
Fallen trees were blocking some routes and hindering repair efforts in outlying areas, she said.
Jefferson County Judge Richard LeBlanc spent Friday morning in a helicopter and held little hope the Texas county would find the 25 houses or businesses with 40 percent uninsured loss that are needed to qualify the county for low- interest loans.
″I think we were real fortunate the damage was real light,″ LeBlanc said.
The heaviest rain Friday was recorded south of Blanchard, La., where 10.2 inches of rain fell in 12 hours.
Shreveport got 8.5 inches of rain in the same 12-hour period Friday, and firefighters had to use boats to rescue some area residents stranded in their homes by the sudden onslaught of rain.
Dozens of Shreveport streets were closed because of the flooding, as was a section of Interstate 20 from about 10 miles west of there into east Texas.
Crutchfield said the Red Cross has brought in 31 staff members from 10 states to help the Louisiana chapter. The agency is opening a kitchen and bringing in 12 disaster relief vans to serve hot meals in greater Shreveport, she said.