City officials, S&WB keep wary eye on tropical system

Officials watch the tropics

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Local officials are keeping a close eye on the weather as the city and surrounding parishes prepare for the worst. Even though it's late in the season, they're reminding residents that the threat of severe weather is still here.

"They're continuing to assess what that capacity means on a day by day basis until they know exactly what the threat looks like," said New Orleans Homeland Security Director Aaron Miller.

Miller said his office is working closely with the mayor, the governor and sewage and water on storm preparations for this coming weekend.

As we saw in early August and the start of this week, pumping capacity is down. Right now, 108 of 120 drainage pumps are fully operational.

Yet, Miller said the city is continuing to make improvements, working around the clock, monitoring pump status, manpower and power generation.

"The fact that they've got an extra turbine back online, they've been able to bring three back up, they still have those 26 generators they'll continue to have throughout hurricane season as well as they've made significant improvements in pump station capacity," said Miller.

"The parish has done everything in our power, and we're going to continue to do it, to be ready to make sure we're storm ready as we always are," said Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni.

Yenni tells FOX 8 that employees there are constantly cleaning drainage lines. Plus, he said their new pump station is fully manned and ready to go.

"We're at, like, 99.9 of pump capacity in Jefferson Parish," Yenni said.

That means 180 of 181 of their pumps will be engaged this weekend. Parish workers will also be on hand, working overtime, if need be.

"We'll have about 287 employees over the course of this event, doing what they need to do as far as cleaning out drain lines, maintaining and operating the pumps. If we have to go to 12 hour shifts at our pump stations, we'll do that," said Yenni.

As fall sets in, he asks residents to do their part by cleaning out their catch basins, if possible, and to have an emergency plan in place.

Jefferson Parish officials say they've also been in touch with the American Red Cross to set up a timeline as to when they might pre-stage equipment at shelters.

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