Paducah is well represented in relief efforts in Louisiana in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Barry and the torrential rains that accompanied its arrival over the weekend.

Although Barry was downgraded to a tropical depression from a tropical storm Sunday afternoon, much of Louisiana and Mississippi were under flash flood watches Monday, along with parts of Arkansas, eastern Texas, western Tennessee and southeastern Missouri, the Associated Press reported.

The U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Paducah was deployed last Tuesday to assist with what was initially called Hurricane Barry response efforts, first to Covington, Louisiana, and then to Houma, Louisiana.

The unit continues to stand by, helping rescue residents and pets from their homes affected by high water, according to Lt. Terri Ann Parris of the Paducah unit.

The Paducah crew will be deployed "as long as they are needed," according to Parris.

Since 2016, the MSU Paducah shallow water response team has been deployed in response to five hurricanes. In June, the team assisted during a high water event in East Cape Girardeau, Illinois.

Andrea Underwood, director of human resources and community relations, said a six-member crew from Paducah Power System left Friday for Plaquemine, Louisiana, located south of Baton Rogue.

Initially, it looked like the PPS crew would be returning soon after spending the weekend helping restore power to Plaquemine City Light & Water customers, Underwood said.

"Word is they will probably hang onto our guys in Louisiana a few more days," she said Monday. "They have some system updates they could use help with while we're there, so we'll help with that before leaving town."

Because the area it was in escaped major storm damage, the local utility crew was able to start working right after the storm passed, according to Underwood.

"We know what it's like to need the help, so whenever we get the call we always try to help when we can," she said. "Our first move is to always assess our own situation to make sure that we can spare folks. And, if we can, we try to help.

"We help where we're needed ... and when we're done, we come home."

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