Publication Date August 7, 2017

New Orleans, part of Jefferson swamped in near-8-inch deluge

United States
Cars and people in the floodwaters near the Municipal Auditorium as a torrential downpour flooded city streets on Saturday, August 5, 2017. Photo: Michael DeMocker, | The Times-Picayune

Heavy rains nearing 8 inches in some spots caused widespread flooding Saturday (Aug. 5) that swamped numerous vehicles and some businesses throughout much of New Orleans and parts of Jefferson Parish.

The areas affected including parts of the city where residents said they had not experienced this type of flooding until recently, including Mid-City, the 7th Ward and parts of Gentilly. In some spots, the water reached more than 3 feet. In Gentilly, the Peoples Avenue Canal may have been temporarily overtopped, the city said, but there were no breaches.

In just over two hours, around 5.4 inches of rain was recorded in the downtown New Orleans area starting at 2 p.m., the National Weather Service estimated. At that time, heavy rains were continuing to fall as water rose over a foot on streets throughout the city.

Areas in Mid-City that saw similar flooding two weeks ago during another storm were hit hard again Saturday, with water in the streets topping the bottoms of vehicle bumpers. Mid-City saw just over 7.8 inches of rain in about three hours, according to an estimate by the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board.


"I've never seen it this bad," said a woman clutching an umbrella and trudging through knee-deep water on St. Peter Street near Rampart. "That was a lot of rain coming down quick."

Cedric Grant, executive director of the Sewerage and Water Board, said that the city's pump system had been fully operational throughout the downpour but was straining to keep up. The agency said the city's pump system is designed to handle one inch of rain in the first hour and a half-inch of rain every hour after that. He told WVUE Fox 8 News that the system was overwhelmed.