I-10 closed at Texas-Louisiana border due to flooding

HOUSTON – ​As floodwaters continue to creep onto the streets of Orange, more residents are finding themselves trapped with nowhere to go.

Stacy Washington and his family hopped into their car Wednesday night, trying to escape their flooded home.

“We're dealing with snakes, alligators, all kinds of insects,” Washington said. 

The plan was to head to a friend’s apartment for the night. However, road closures prevented them from getting around.

“I’m very frustrated because I haven’t slept and I really haven’t had anything to eat,” Washington said.

He said his family will most likely end up sleeping in their car.

Late night truck drivers were also having a hard time navigating their way through residential streets in Orange after being forced to detour off the closed lanes of I-10.

“I’m just trying to get my job done,” said Rick Castillo, who was headed to Lake Charles from San Antonio. 

“A lot of people are getting lost because they're from out of town, especially the 18-wheelers. They try to turn and they get stuck,” said Gary Heintschel, who operates a wrecker service. 

The Sabine River is expected to crest south of I-10 sometime Wednesday night, or early into Thursday morning. Local officials have warned the water may not recede for days, even weeks in some low-lying areas.

It is unknown when the roads will reopen.

Officials have been monitoring the water levels since Monday along I-10 at the Texas-Louisiana border. As early as Monday night, the Texas Department of Transportation issued a statement saying that Texas and Louisiana were considering closing I-10 in the area. 

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***I-10 ALERT*** Flooding from excessive rainfall along the Texas-Louisiana state line has resulted in the states of...

Posted by Texas Department of Transportation on Monday, March 14, 2016

The Orange County Emergency Management Office issued a mandatory evacuation south of I-10 on Tuesday afternoon. The evacuation affected the area from the railroad tracks to the river in Orange County and included the cove, authorities said.

The county also released a list of flooded areas and roads.

North Highway 62 area and Mauriceville area (Cow Bayou Watershed):

  • 9400 Skeeter Dr.
  • Hickory Bend

North Orange Area:

  • West Bluff from Elmira east to river - (Barricaded)
  • Armitage at FM 3247
  • Pea Farm
  • Pine Bluff Rd.
  • East Allie Payne
  • Holliman Circle (Barricaded)
  • Elmira Rd. from 3000 block (Killiam Rd.) to West Bluff
  • FM 1130 from FM 3247 North to Bear Path (Impassable)

City of Orange:

  • Simmons Dr. (Barricaded)
  • John at Simmons (Barricaded)
  • North St. and 3rd (Barricaded)
  • All streets in Navy Addition
  • 6th St. and Cordrey East to Simmons
  • Beverly and Eddie (Greenway 1)
  • 27th at Eddleman

Vidor Area:

  • South Lakeview at the sandbar
  • Sharon Lane
  • Connolly Rd.
  • 4 Oaks Ranch Rd., flooded from west up 500 block (Barricaded)
  • Lakeview, from the west up to 600 block (Barricaded at N. Fisherman)

Bridge City Area:

  • Bailey's Rd. at Lake St. (Barricaded)

Deputies said at least 30 to 40 people were rescued in the area of the border since Sunday. That is the highest the water has been since 1989, deputies said. Some water was as deep as five to six feet inside some homes in the area. 

A nearby truck weigh station that was under water was also closed Tuesday. Exit 4 at Toomy Starks  was closed for several hours due to rainfall and flood waters. 

TxDOT said the I-10 closure affects, east-west traffic.

Motorists who are taking one of the recommended I-20 routes are experiencing a nearly four-hour detour. US 59 is also a recommended route.

TxDOT issued the following release Monday:

Due to continued flooding from excessive rainfall along the Texas-Louisiana state line, the Texas Department of Transportation has close Interstate 10 near the state line. All motorists who are driving eastbound to Louisiana should use I-20 as an alternate route. For those traveling on I-10 from:

• El Paso take I-20 East of Van Horn
• San Antonio take I-35 North to I-20 East to Shreveport
• Houston take US 59 North to I-20 East to Shreveport
• Beaumont take US 96 North to US 69 North to US 59 North to I-20 East to Shreveport

A Cypress Creek EMS Ambulance and crew was called to assist in Orange with flood efforts. The crews headed to the area at 9 a.m. Monday. 

Paramedic Christina DuBose and EMT James Burton volunteered for the first 96 hour shift. They will respond to 9-1-1 calls and help with support search and rescue operations. Cypress Creek EMS will send more assistance if needed.

Motorists should follow these safety tips when driving in inclement weather:

  • Obey barricades and high-water signs.
  • Avoid using cruise control when visibility is low or road surfaces are wet.
  • Allow for extra driving time.
  • Reduce speeds when visibility is low.
  • Make sure there is plenty of room between vehicles.
  • Avoid driving into standing or running water.

The department also advises drivers to visit www.DriveTexas.org for updates.