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New Orleans braces for more rain, watchful for flash floods

From Reuters - August 10, 2017

(Reuters) - The governor of Louisiana and the mayor of New Orleans declared a state of emergency for the city on Thursday due to torrential rains that overwhelmed a municipal drainage system already diminished by power shortages.

At a press conference, Mayor Mitch Landrieu also called for a private, third-party company to assume management of a pumping system meant to lower the risk of floods.

The emergency declarations by Landrieu and Governor John Del Edwards are to remain in effect until Sept. 3.

The drainage system for the city, much of which lies below sea level, was inundated last Saturday by storms that dumped up to 9 inches of rain in three hours in some areas, causing flash flooding, according to the mayor's press secretary, Erin Burns.

New Orleans officials said its Sewerage & Water Board lost service on Wednesday night to a key turbine providing power to a majority of pumping stations for the East Bank section of town, hindering stormwater drainage in that area.

Local media have reported that Landrieu, disappointed by the handling of the response to the heavy rains and flooding, this week accepted the resignations or retirements of four top officials for the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board and Public Works Department.

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