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Residents near Amite River prepare as severe weather threatens the area

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DENHAM SPRINGS - As Louisiana prepares for strong storms, folks along the rivers are getting ready for whatever comes their way.

Even though it's not expected to be anything like the flood in August, people along the river banks are taking extra precautions.

Denham Springs resident Wanda Crittenden is on high alert, stepping outside every few minutes.

“I was looking for the wind to be blowing, and then you feel it cool and then you feel the humidity, those two combinations are when the worse storms happen,” Crittenden said.

In this area off River Road in Denham, other residents like Crittenden, are also nervous. During the August flood, the water reached levels unlike ever before, filling hundreds of homes along the Amite’s banks.

“The rivers at 18 feet right now, and the river was at 46, so 28 feet higher above this," Travis Hood said.

“It went twenty feet up the trees and filled my grandpa’s house with four and a half feet.”

Hood’s grandfather lives on top of a hill on the property, and didn’t flood in 1983 when Southeast Louisiana was hit with a major flood. All their neighbors flooded, but never them.

That changed in August of 2016.

Now, the family lives with their grandfather in a double-wide trailer while they recover, making the threat of flooding and possible tornadoes hit home.

“I think anybody who flooded before in August is very much concerned, I don't think its a secret that being proactive is the way to go,” Hood said.

In an earlier press conference with Governor Edwards, a similar message was stressed.

“This is a statewide weather event, and this information we are putting out in this briefing pertains to everybody in the state of Louisiana," Edwards said.

The Governor and Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome also asked residents who are currently living in a trailer, mobile home, or a Manufactured Housing Unit, to make a plan to stay with a relative or friend in a house.

Crittenden agrees, asking all her neighbors who live in manufactured housing off River Road to make plans for Sunday night.

“I’ll tell them, if they live in a trailer, they need to get out," Crittenden said. “I feel it’s going to get a lot worse tonight because the worse time to have it is at night.”

Crittenden is right. The worst of the severe weather is expected late Sunday night and into the early morning hours of Monday.

According to the National Weather Service, East Baton Rouge Parish is under the threat of tornadoes, heavy rainfall, and potential flooding in the early morning hours from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.  The area could get 3 to 6 inches of rain, but the weather should clear out before the early morning commute, weather officials say.

The National Weather forecast also expects the Amite River to crest at 27 feet, just two feet away from the flood stage of 29 feet.

Residents are asked to keep their mobile phones charged and close by for severe weather alerts.

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