ATLANTA — Hilton Bellow and many other southwest Louisiana residents waited more than two hours in line to pick up sandbags in preparation of heavy storms, as the slow-moving storm Harvey battering Texas continues to dump rain on both states.
“It’s a longtime to be waiting in line for sand bags,” said Bellow, who eventually came away with just 10 bags on Sunday. His car along with about 100 other vehicles lined up at the Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Bellow is using the sand bags to pack around his home to prevent possible flood water damage.
“Hopefully I won’t need them,” he said. “But I’m just getting ready. According to the news, this weather could last four or five days. If it does last that long, we’ll need them.”
Parts of southwest Louisiana could face flash floods, authorities said Sunday.
National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch until 7 p.m. Monday for Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, and Vernon parishes. Parts of the state’s northwest, including Sabine Parish, have been under a flash flood watch since Friday. Intense rainfall may overwhelm local drainage systems.
NWS meteorologist Roger Erickson says around 10 to 15 inches of rain inundated Lake Charles and Cameron over the weekend and that rain is expected to hit areas further east. The weather service said Beaumont, Texas, and the southwestern region of Louisiana have experienced up to 18 inches of rain causing flooding to roads and some homes.
Erickson said “a major storm” could strike the already affected area Thursday or Friday.
Tornadoes were also a threat. NWS Meteorologist Jared Rackley confirmed a tornado touched down in Vermilion Parish around 2:15 p.m. Sunday. He said there were no reports of injuries or fatalities but there were some property damage.
The NWS placed Calcasieu and Cameron parishes under a tornado watch until 2 a.m. Monday.
“This storm is wreaking havoc along the Gulf Coast,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement. “It is critically important for the people of Louisiana, particularly those in Southwest Louisiana, to recognize that we are not out of the woods. I am asking all Louisianans to remain vigilant and pay attention to your local news.”
Despite facing its own weather troubles, Louisiana dispatched teams of wildlife and fisheries agents to neighboring Texas to help with rescue efforts. The governor’s spokesman Richard Carbo said in a text message that the state had sent 10 agents, 10 trucks and 10 boats. He said the state also sent personnel to help Texas officials coordinate other out-of-state resources being sent there.
“Nearly 12 years ago, Texans opened their doors to the people of Louisiana when Hurricane Katrina devastated our state,” Edwards said. “Since then, we’ve turned to them for assistance time and again. In 2016, Texas Taskforce 1 was dispatched to our state to provide support during the historic floods. We will do nothing less to support to the people of Texas in any way that we can as they respond and recover from Hurricane Harvey.”
Harvey, the fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade, came ashore late Friday about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Corpus Christi as a mammoth Category 4 storm. Although weakening to a tropical storm Saturday, the slow-moving Harvey has heaved catastrophic amounts of precipitation onto coastal Texas. At least two people are dead and more than a dozen injured.
The storm could linger for days and unload as much as 40 inches (100 centimeters) of rain on cities including Houston.
Herbert reported from Lake Charles, Louisiana.