Carbondale man reports on damage from hurricane
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado
A relief worker from Carbondale who was in Pearlington, Miss., during Hurricane Isaac said the unincorporated community was waterlogged throughout Wednesday but didn’t suffer extensive wind damage to homes and businesses.
“We rode out the storm. In some places, we got 6 to 8 feet of water,” said Tom Dalessandri, who was a co-founder of a relief organization called Mountains to Mississippi: The Pearlington Project when Hurricane Katrina struck seven years ago. Residents and governments of the Roaring Fork Valley started the direct-aid effort and adopted Pearlington after Katrina.
Dalessandri said Pearlington, right on the border of Louisiana, was basically engulfed by a lake created by the storm surge. The town was swamped throughout Wednesday, and the surge finally stopped by 7 p.m. Water was just starting to drain out of some areas Thursday morning, but some roads were still impassable.
Dalessandri said there were sustained winds Tuesday between 45 and 55 mph but very little thunder or lightning. Not as much rain fell on Pearlington as in other areas of the Gulf Coast.
The house where Dalessandri was staying was swamped with about 1 foot of water, he said. As of 1 p.m. Mountain Time, he was just starting to drive around the community for an assessment of damage. National Guard troops were in Pearlington, but he saw no sign of the Red Cross.
Pearlington residents are bracing for another round of water. So much rain has fallen north of the community that the Pearl River is expected to crest at 18 feet by Sunday, according to Dalessandri. Flood stage is at 14 feet, so the town could be swamped again, he said.
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Studies by Colorado Parks and Wildlife show the survival of elk calves in the Roaring Fork Valley has dropped about 33 percent in the last decade. White River National Forest officials said they need to act to try to reserve that trend. They are seeking public comment on their plan.