NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Mayor Mitch Landrieu said Friday afternoon that currently there are no plans to call for an evacuation of city residents. Landrieu believes the city's drainage system, though slightly impaired can handle the rainfall currently expected to be dumped on the area.
"Our current forecast indicates 5-10 inches of rain over five to seven days with the potential for double if we get stuck in prolonged rain bands. If we do not, we should be able to handle that amount of rain over a long period of time. The heaviest rain will most likely begin Sunday and go through the week. Given our current models we believe our drainage system can handle this forecast unless of course as I've said before these rain bands appear and give us trouble," Landrieu stated.
"Right now we're planning to shelter in place in the event that the worse circumstances occur. If we get 5 to 10 inches over 96 hours we'll be able to handle that. If we get 5 to 10 times two in two hours in a small place you can expect some localized flooding in the City of New Orleans, with particular attention to the west side of the Industrial Canal, that is what we know today."
Landrieu was flanked by city council members, the city's police, fire and EMS leaders as well as Ken Graham of the National Weather Service/New Orleans.
"It's so critical not to concentrate on the center of Harvey. Those rain bands could literally be hundreds of miles, I've seen them as far as 200-300 miles away from Harvey you could get some of these higher rain bands. It's critical we don't focus on just where Harvey is, but on what those impacts might be and where that rain is and that's where we get these higher amounts from."
Landrieu said the plan right now is to have residents shelter where they are when the rains get heavy.
"Right now we're planning to shelter in place in the event that the worse circumstances occur, if we get 5 to 10 inches over 96 hours we'll be able to handle that. If we get 5 to 10 times two in two hours in a small place you can expect some localized flooding in the City of New Orleans, with particular attention to the west side of the Industrial Canal, that is what we know today."
He and the National Weather Service remain concerned about Harvey's expected snail's pace once on land.
"Harvey's expected to completely stall over the Texas coast and that's where we're getting a lot of that incredible rainfall from as Harvey stalls out. To give you an idea of the timeline here, Harvey is expected to remain over Texas and meander on the coast all the way up to the middle of the week and in fact, some of the latest models even keep Harvey over Texas for the next seven days," said Graham.
The mayor said the city has been communicating with the White House and said he is getting good cooperation from both Washington and Governor John Bel Edwards.
Landrieu is asking people to stay off the streets when the rains get heavy this weekend.