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Jun 11, 2014 6:58 PM by Kari Beal

Explanation of drainage by Ambassador and Dulles

Yesterday we saw one of the biggest single day rainfalls in Lafayette during the month of June. One of the worst spots -- Ambassador Caffery and Dulles Drive --was shut down yesterday, along with other roads in Lafayette Parish. Some residents complained that the water was not draining.

"There is not a particular drainage problem in that area," Lafayette Consolidated Government Chief of Development Kevin Blanchard said.

So why did it appear that way? KATC Meteorologist Dave Baker explained the quantity of rain was a big contributing factor.

"The storm we got two weeks ago turned out to be the third largest rainfall total in a one day period. It was 6.83 inches of rain. The one we had yesterday turned out to be the one of the highest rainfall for the month of June," Baker said.

Baker explained, that in just three hours, gauges in Lafayette were measured at 4-7" of rain. That's as much rain as we may get in the entire month of June. Much of the rain was concentrated in the Ambassador Caffery area.

Blanchard said he thinks one reason the water by Ambassador and Dulles Drive was draining slowly was because the coulee nearby was overflowing.

"This was the second time in a couple of weeks that we had a rain event like that. The river level was already high in the Vermilion, there was already a lot of water in the coulee. That just adds the time it takes for everything to level off," Blanchard said.

Dave Baker agreed that the storm in May could have contributed because it was the 11th biggest single day rainfall in history.

"I crunched the numbers and found that our May 28th rain was a record. The average record rainfall is about 4.03" in May and the average record age is 59 years. June's average record rain is 3.37, with the average record being 60 years old," Baker said.

Lafayette resident John Tanner, who lives close to the coulee by Ambassador and Dulles, said it was overflowing.

"Where these trees are right here, the water was up to them and over to the driveway here," Tanner said.

Blanchard said LCG designs all of drainage systems to meet a certain standard. He explained they could build a bigger system, but for a rare event like this, the benefit would not outweigh the cost.

"If we had all the money then there would be lots of projects that we could do and that maybe we could increase the size of all of our pipes, but what we are dealing with are limited resources so we do the best with what we can," Blanchard said.

Some data:

Rainfall on May 28, 2014 6.87"

Average record rainfall total during May 4.03"
Average age of a rainfall record in May, 59 years old

Average record rainfall in June 4.03"
Average age 60 years old

Top 1 day rains in Lafayette

1. 19.63" 8/9/1940
2. 10.38" 5/16/1980
3. 9.99" 1/20/1993
4. 9.60" 6/17/1934
5. 9.09" 5/8/1907
6. 7.84" 4/21/1979
7. 7.52" 2/12/1905
8. 7.24" 11/2/1995
tie
9. 7.10" 12/31/1933
9. 7.10" 10/3/1964

11. 6.87" 5/28/2014

For more information on flooding problems across Lafayette click here.

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