Abbeville sees worst flooding in nearly 80 years

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Downtown Abbeville had at least a foot of water making it difficult to get around Magdalen Square. The old Get building (above) had water in it for the first time since 1940s.

Waters continued to recede Monday in Abbeville, but the damage from the worst flooding to hit the city in nearly 80 years has been done.
How much damage remains to be seen.
“We are waiting to get the official word from OEP (Office of Emergency Preparedness),” Abbeville Mayor Mark Piazza said Monday morning. “I am estimating at this point, and it’s a very rough estimation, of about 200 homes in Abbeville that have flooded, some of course more severe than others.”
The areas of the city that were hit the hardest were around waterways. That includes the west side of the Vermilion River, around Vermilion Catholic, the downtown area and the south side of the city, around State Street.
“The By-pass is still under water by Burger King,” Piazza said “They have a coulee right there and you still can’t pass.”
The old bridge in downtown Abbeville was opened Monday morning.
“There is a ton of traffic going back and forth on it,” Piazza said. “Most of the water in the downtown area has receded, probably close to a foot. You can now travel around Magdalen Square. It was blocked off until (Monday) morning.”
Piazza said the city’s water and sewer plants are working as they normally do. He did say that some lift stations were under water.
“We haven’t been able to check all of them yet,” Piazza said.
Parts of the city were reportedly spared. That includes the area around Franks Alley and John Hardy that historically flood. With the help of FEMA, the city put a retention pond in the area in 2011.
“That seems to have worked well,” Piazza said.
Other parts of the city seemed to be business as usual Monday morning. Some stores were open.
As citizens are able to get back in their homes and assess the damage, Piazza encourages they take photos of the damaged areas.
“This will help in the recovery process,” Piazza said.
The extent of that process simply can’t be known. Flooding of this magnitude hasn’t been seen since 1940.
“This is something the city hasn’t seen in a generation,” Piazza said. “This is one that people will not soon forget, but the people and the city will recover from this in time.”

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