Mayor Landrieu urges residents to 'stay home' Tuesday due to flood risk

Mayor: Stay home!

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Mayor Mitch Landrieu is urging residents to stay home and off city streets Tuesday as extraordinary amounts of rainfall are anticipated with the threat of tornadoes as Harvey remains a threat to this area.

Public schools in the city will be closed Tuesday.

Landrieu said Monday that rain bands during the early afternoon adversely impacted a pump in the city's system and more rain persistent rain is expected Tuesday and Wednesday.

Landrieu said the pump that was impaired Monday affects areas like Lakeview.

"For example, Pump C at pump Drainage Station 6 which was just recently repaired went down again. We have crews dispatched there now and are beginning to repair it. We're also hoping to get an additional turbine up tomorrow at 12 o'clock which would greatly improve our capacity for power… Overall, about 90% of the pumps are able to operate if we have the power available to them. Obviously, we cannot control what Mother Nature sends to us, but we can be prepared to respond to it," said Landrieu.

"Today we had a pump go down. 6C had a fire in a motor. A contractor was dispatched. He's on the scene right now. We think we'll get an update in about 30 minutes on whether that can be repaired or not. So those are the kinds of actions we're taking," said Paul Rainwater, who led the state's recovery authority after Katrina and was recently named to an interim emergency team for the city's drainage system by Landrieu.

The Army Corps of Engineers told FOX 8 News Monday that in this area the corps would not have to respond to significant flooding the way it has in Houston by opening dams and reservoirs.

"The Corps in New Orleans, as well as south Louisiana, we don't have dams or reservoirs.  Our rivers are managed through an operational system where we have flood ways and spillways like the Bonnet Carre', so that if water levels get high on the Mississippi River we'd divert that water into Lake Pontchartrain, so you don't have any circumstances like we have in Galveston," said Ricky Boyett, of the Corps of Engineers in New Orleans.

And Boyett said does not believe even tremendous amounts of rain would adversely affect Mississippi River levels in this area.

"One of the advantages we have, if there is an advantage, is that hurricane season typically corresponds with low water Mississippi River. So we have a low water and interestingly enough, most of the time that we have a high water event in New Orleans, that water is not actually from rainfall here in the area. Our river is so big that it can handle massive amounts of rain without any noticeable difference. It's when we get water in the Ohio Valley merging with the Missouri valley is when we start to see our rivers increase," said Boyett.

Landrieu's administration said the overwhelming majority of the city's drainage pumps are functional, but works continues to get the system 100-percent operational.

He said he remains in contact with the White House and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards.

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