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USGS measuring water marks from catastrophic flooding

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DENHAM SPRINGS - The United States Geological Survey has a team of workers from all over the country going to areas that flooded in Louisiana to measure high water marks.

The federal workers are zeroing in on areas in our community that took on high water. Nearly a dozen teams from USGS are traveling across the state inputting that data in high tech devices.

Keith Duncan's Denham Springs home wasn't supposed to flood. It did. Tonight, 17 years of sentimental items and memories are full of mildew and mold.

"For the last two weeks just a lot of pain and heartache trying to take out all of our memories and throw them on the side of the road," Duncan said.

That pain Duncan is dealing with right now is what a team of workers from the USGS hopes to prevent in the future. Using a power drill and high tech pole, federal workers are going to nearly 300 sites tagged with green ribbons by USGS workers in from all over the country. Each ribbon is analyzed by the computerized equipment and communicates the data to satellites on which areas flooded and how much.

"The most important thing is people will often times use the information we are gathering now for safety or loss of any of their property to let people know what flood elevations get up to," Chris Henry with the USGS said.

The USGS says the data that's collected will ultimately be submitted to FEMA. The agency will eventually use that information to redo the flood inundation maps.

"Building afterwards, they will know what they need to be above," Henry said.

For Keith Duncan, these measurements come a little too late. The catastrophic flooding split up his family. He's living in the house so he can work on it. His wife and daughter are staying a home that didn't take on water. Unfortunately, Duncan says all of his neighbors on his block had no flood insurance. They are now left relying on any assistance FEMA can give them to rebuild as best they can. When it seems impossible he looks at a sign in his house that reads, don't quit.

"I'm just doing it in stages," Duncan said. "First thing was gutting, second was cleaning, third was trying to put it together to where my family can come back in and stay with me. Doing it like that, it's painful."

The federal workers in town taking high water measurements hope to have their work completed by the end of this week. The information that is being collected by the USGS is available online.


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