Central's mayor says city ready for Cristobal's rain
CENTRAL - The City of Central, which was hard hit during the 2016 flood, has taken on major capital improvement projects since then to improve drainage in the community.
Mayor David Barrow said the city is well-positioned for a normal rainfall event. Nearly a million dollars has been spent on 30 different projects in town to help residents see some relief.
"If it's a small amount of rain like six inches, those are the things you can handle," Barrow said. "But, if you get 12 inches or more, there are hardly any systems that are designed to handle that. Our drainage depends on the Amite and Comite. As long as those are low, our ditches can drain. When they get high we get backwater flooding."
Some residents say the projects the city has done since the flood are working.
"Thunderstorms move through and the water gets out of here a lot quicker," Bridlewood resident Larry Demoulin said.
Demoulin has lived in his Central home for more than 30 years, and said 2016 was the first time he's ever flooded. It came with a taxing cost.
"Just having to tear everything out of your house, all the stuff we accumulated over the years... Most of it was ruined," Demoulin said. "We lost pictures. That was the worst thing."
Now, he says his family has a heightened sense of anxiety every time it rains.
"You don't go to sleep at night, you just wait and see and watch the water," Demoulin said.
Barrow said the point of the projects that have been underway has been to clean out neglected ditches and get the water flowing. Videos he shared with WBRZ show the cleaning appears to be working.
"We've watched over the past couple of months with these four and five-inch rains over a day or two, and we get very few complaints," Barrow said.
Barrow urged all residents to clear out culverts and storm drains around their homes as the threat of rain approaches this weekend.