Flooding could be historic

Officials with the National Weather Service in Shreveport say this is the first time they’ve ever seen Bayou Dorcheat flood Interstate 20.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time Bayou Dorcheat has flooded and closed Interstate 20,” Hydrologist C.S. Ross said. “It didn’t do it in 1991, 1997, or in October or November 2009.”

Flood waters from Bayou Dorcheat reached the edge of Highway 80 in Dixie Inn Thursday. Bruce Franklin/Press-Herald
Flood waters from Bayou Dorcheat reached the edge of Highway 80 in Dixie Inn Thursday. Bruce Franklin/Press-Herald

As floodwaters continued to rise on Lake Bistineau and Bayou Dorcheat Thursday, the two bodies of water are expected to crest within the next day or so.

The NWS shows predictions for Lake Bistineau to crest sometime Friday at 148.5 feet. Ross says Bistineau has already set a new record. The old record was 148.1.

“We think it’s very near crest, and we don’t expect it to change,” he said.

Bayou Dorcheat was up 24.3 feet as of press time, and information from the United States Geological Service show predicted cresting at 25.5 feet by Saturday.

“At Bayou Dorcheat at Dixie Inn, that will be a new record,” he said. “It beat the April 1997 flood when it crested at 25.1 feet. I remember it well; it was impressive.”

At Dorcheat near Springhill, Ross says levels are currently at 19.8 feet and will crest at 20.5 feet by Friday morning.

With all the rain that’s moved north, Ross says he doesn’t expect to see a secondary crest of Dorcheat or Lake Bistineau.

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries agents have rescued 37 people to date from flooded areas in Webster Parish. Five were rescued in Doyline Tuesday night, seven Wednesday. Two people in Minden were rescued, six in Sibley, 12 in Heflin and three from Penal Farm Road.

In the early afternoon hours on Wednesday, agents rescued two people from Interstate 20 at the Webster/Bienville Parish line.

Agents say they will remain on alert and ready for any search and rescue until the floodwaters recede.

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