Meteorologist: NO already posts wettest December

Published 6:27 pm Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The month’s not even half over and already it’s the wettest December on record for the New Orleans area.

That’s according to National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Efferson. He says that as of early Monday, rainfall, as measured at the airport in a city suburb, was 11.3 inches above normal for the month.

“And we’ve got storms all over the place today,” he said.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Blame El Nino, which Efferson said usually means a wet pattern for this part of the country.

A flash flood watch was in effect through much of Tuesday for parts of southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi, with forecasters expecting 1-3 inches of rain, and possibly up to 6 with some downpours, before an advancing cold front should help bring a reprieve and “gorgeous” weekend weather, Efferson said.

Local officials were bracing for the next round of bad weather.

Robert Jackson, a spokesman for New Orleans’ Sewerage and Water Board, said city pumps are working but that they can only handle so much water at once.

Over the weekend, rains that in some parts of the metro New Orleans area fell at a rate of 2-plus inches in an hour caused hazardous driving conditions; there were widespread reports of street flooding, and authorities recovered the body of a man who police say drove his vehicle into a canal in poor visibility. Autopsy results were pending.

Weekend rain totals, from Saturday until 6 a.m. Sunday, included more than 7 inches in New Orleans’ Audubon Park section and 6.75 inches for Pascagoula, Miss., Efferson said.