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Drainage Pump Catches Fire As New Orleans Prepares For Harvey

Jim Bowie
Adobe Stock
New Orleans pumping station 2. A pump at station 6 is being repared after a motor caught fire Monday.

Editor's Note: See the latest news and updates on Harvey.

As Louisiana braces for heavy rain from Tropical Storm Harvey, officials in New Orleans announced that one of the city’s drainage pumps is being repaired — after a motor caught fire Monday.

The announcement from Mayor Mitch Landrieu came after 4 inches of rain earlier in the day caused street flooding in neighborhoods across the city. 

"This type of heavy rain always produces standing water in the streets, but will especially do so with our diminished capacity,” says Landrieu.

The pump that caught fire had undergone repairs in recent weeks — and it services a station that's crucial to getting water out of the city. The pump is at station 6, which is at the 17th street canal.

The city's pumping system has been under scrutiny since flooding earlier this month exposed infrastructure failures and unreported maintenance issues.

The mayor and city leaders are urging residents to stay home on Tuesday — with forecasts calling for heavy rains and increased potential for localized flooding.

President Trump has signed a federal emergency declaration for five parishes in the state of Louisiana. Gov. John Bel Edwards made the request on Sunday evening in advance of heavy rain from Tropical Storm Harvey.

Edwards said that some areas in southwest Louisiana that are already seeing some street flooding may see more flooding later this week, as the storm continues to head north.

"When the storm actually does start to track north, that rain will fall in the same river system that then has to flow back south again, so we do think that that is a likelihood going forward.

At this point, Edwards says he is concerned — but not panicked — about the situation in New Orleans, citing the city's increased pumping and power generator capacity since early August floods.

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