Hail pummels Belle ChasseApr 5th, 2011 | By William Dilella | Category: top story
Last week’s storm swept in with severe winds and a barrage of hail that caused damage to cars, homes and businesses in the Plaquemines area.
There were confirmed reports from a National Weather Service survey crew of severe wind damage, downed trees, flooding, large hail and tornados in neighboring parishes.
“Everything went pretty good considering the amount of rainfall we had in a short period of time,” said Angelo Lima, Superintendent of the Drainage and Pump Station Department.
Although the bulk of the storm hit Belle Chasse last Tuesday night, portions of the parish were still reporting rainfall days later.
Lima’s crews measured rainfall from five to ten inches of rain throughout the parish.
“Streets had some water in them,” but the crews “managed to keep up, expecting all the rain,” Lima said. “The only thing that dampened (the flood fighting efforts) was all the operators trying to get to their posts with the large golf ball hail.”
But even though the drains and pump stations performed impeccably, not everyone escaped unscathed.
In Belle Chasse, less than a mile past the flooded courtyard of the library stood Martin’s Garden Center.
An employee surveyed the damage far into the morning. Plants and tables that had been properly set and showcased for purchases were now destroyed. The debris scattered when the roof fell in on the plant shelter. On the ground next to the shop was a large chunk of an Adam’s Catfish House sign. It was lying mangled in the dirt, almost in Martin’s parking lot.
It was reported by the survey teams that some areas experienced damage consistent with winds near 105 mph.
Across Belle Chasse Highway, Champagne Travel’s warehouse next to the main office, is a pile of rubble. The older structure was used mainly for files and storage. The entire structure had collapsed. As the clean-up crew worked to clear the debris, Jimmy Hinson, walked over the fence that once separated his yard from Champagne Travel’s lot. The metal poles that held the fence were bent to the ground, and the planks themselves were speckled with damage from the hail.
“See that,” Hinson said, pointing to the damaged face of the fence. “That was solid last night.”
Hinson had been on the phone with his brother during the worst of the weather, and the lightning and wind had been so loud they were screaming at each other and still couldn’t hear one another.
“My daughter is in the military,” Hinson said. Her car was in his care. “But what happens? Hail tears it up. And all I have is liability until she comes out.”
But for now all Hinson wanted was desperately to find his cat that had wandered off in the storm.
There was a similar apprehensiveness at Martin’s. The employee made calls off a customers list, informing them of what happened and why their orders are obviously canceled now. They still had not been in touch with the owner to tell him just how bad it was. She then asked one of the photographers if they could use some pictures for insurance if need be.