Hurricane, storm surge watches issued for SELA and MS Gulf Coast - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Hurricane, storm surge watches issued for SELA and MS Gulf Coast

Source: NOAA Source: NOAA
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

As of 10 p.m. Thursday, hurricane and storm surge watches have been issued for Southeast Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. 

Following are plans issued by parish officials and others.

Plaquemines Parish

Plaquemines Parish President Amos Cormier says while there’s still plenty of uncertainty surrounding Nate, he’s most concerned about the people who live outside the levee protection system.

“This storm is projected to mover very fast, and that’s a good thing for us. One of the big concerns is we’ve had high tides already, and when you put storm surge on top high tides, that’s when you get flooding,” says Cormier.

He says the low lying areas will likely flood. Councilman John Barthelemy’s district is the east bank of Plaquemines where parish workers are right now trying to finish a levee between Scarsdale and Belair.

“I’m very concerned because we have a couple of feet of water already there and with the tide coming in we don’t know what will happen,” says Barthelemy.

Barthelemy is less worried about communities north of Scarsdale, including Braithwaite, where the levees are built to 12 and a half feet.

Inside the levee protection system, Cormier says residents should be prepared for possible strong winds, rain and power outages. He says parish workers are busy preparing too.

“They’re picking up trash and we’ve already refueled all of our pump stations and topped off those tanks,” says Cormier.

He says the parish’s pumping capacity is near 100 percent, and he says the pumping stations will be manned the entire weekend.

Orleans Parish

The City of New Orleans continues preparations in advance of Tropical Storm Nate. 

Nate was upgraded to a tropical storm and has taken a significant westward shift, making probable landfall in Southeast Louisiana over the weekend. The chance for tropical storm-force winds has increased. Heavy wind is currently the primary concern for New Orleans through the weekend.

Residents are allowed to park on the neutral ground and sidewalks, as long as vehicles do not block intersections or streetcar tracks. 

At this time, a Coastal Flood Advisory remains in effect for New Orleans until noon on Sunday, Oct. 8. Coastal flooding is expected as tides are up to two ft. above normal tide levels. Potential storm surge flooding is probable through Saturday and Sunday. There is also potential for minor flooding of low-lying roadways outside of the flood protection system, near the Lakefront and in Venetian Isles.

At this time, there is no mandatory evacuation order for New Orleans. However, Mayor Landrieu strongly encourages residents who live outside the City’s levee protection system or in low-lying areas, like Venetian Isles, Irish Bayou and the Lakefront, to move to higher ground. Residents who live inside the levee system should prepare to take shelter with essential supplies including food, water, and medications. 

Sandbags will be available at the following New Orleans Fire Department stations from 7 a.m. 24 hours a day, starting Friday, Oct. 6 until further notice:

  • 987 Robert E. Lee Blvd.
  • 2000 Martin Luther King Blvd.
  • 4115 Woodland Ave.
  • 2118 Elysian Fields Ave.
  • 5403 Read Road

St. John the Baptist Parish

  • A voluntary evacuation is in effect for areas North of the I-55 off ramp at LaPlace, including Frenier, Peavine and Manchac. A mandatory evacuation is under consideration for these areas on Saturday.
  • A voluntary evacuation is being considered for Pleasure Bend and areas north of Airline Hwy. that are prone to flooding and homes and businesses that flooded in Hurricane Isaac. 
  • Residents should begin preparations in anticipation of tropical storm conditions. possible flooding and the loss of power.
  • This includes reviewing evacuation plans, securing homes and businesses for strong winds and possible water, picking up debris, tree limbs and garbage cans, moving cars to higher ground and aggressively monitoring weather stations for updates. 
  • Residents should also obtain medications and secure important papers.
  • Residents who are elderly, sick or have difficulty managing on their own are encouraged to contact family members and friends and have a plan to leave their homes should it be necessary. For special needs, please call the Department of Health and Human Services 985-536-4955

St. Bernard Parish

The St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office will distribute free sandbags to parish residents Friday, October 6th from 1:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the sandbag barn in the old Kaiser facility at the rear of the Port of St. Bernard in Chalmette.  Motorists wishing to pick up the sandbags at the Port can enter the road to the port off West St. Bernard Highway at Keane Drive, next to the old Kaiser smokestack, and follow the road to the rear of the port, near the Mississippi River levee. 

St. Bernard residents must show proof of residency in order to receive sandbags, and there will be a limit of 15 per vehicle.  

"We have sandbags that have been pre-made and are ready to be given to residents of St. Bernard,'' Sheriff James Pohlmann said. 

St. Bernard residents must show proof of residency in order to receive sandbags, and there will be a limit of 15 per vehicle, Sheriff Pohlmann said.

Motorists wishing to pick up the sandbags at the Port can enter the road to the port off West St. Bernard Highway at Keane Drive, next to the old Kaiser smokestack, and follow the road to the rear of the port, near the Mississippi River levee. Deputies will be there to assist, the Sheriff said.

The Sheriff’s Office is monitoring weather conditions associated with Tropical Storm Nate and are in constant contact with local parish government leaders, officials from surrounding parishes and the National Weather Service.

“We’re reviewing our plans and are ready for this rain event,” Sheriff James Pohlmann said. “We also are prepared to bring in extra manpower to help with traffic control and road closures if need be.”

Sheriff Pohlmann reminds residents to use caution when driving down residential streets with standing water. Residents who drive down flooded streets, endangering the property of others, can be fined up to $500.

Residents who would like to report any problems or suspicious activity in their neighborhood can contact the Sheriff’s Office at (504) 271-2501. 

Jefferson Parish Schools

The Jefferson Parish Public School System announced today that it will close Grand Isle School and all schools in Lafitte Friday, October 6 and Monday, October 9 due to the predicted track of Tropical Storm Nate.

The Superintendent and the Operations Unit will continue to monitor the storm’s progress and will make a determination about possible closings for Monday, October 9 as well as continue to communicate with the Jefferson Parish Emergency Management Department as Tropical Storm Nate develops.

Parents and community members can keep up with the latest JPPSS announcements through the district’s mobile app, social media (Facebook and Twitter), local media outlets, and the district website (jpschools.org).

Jefferson Parish

Since August we have cleaned over 9,100 catch basins in the Parish, kept our 69 pump stations fully manned and operated 180 pumps on a daily basis. We are currently at 99% pumping capacity as 1 pump is offline. To date, we have cleaned 31,000 catch basins, which is more than we ever have in that time period. As we continue to monitor this storm system, we will have all of our 287 employees in the Drainage Department as well as our other Public Works departments ready for what comes our way.”

The latest information from the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) has positioned Tropical Storm Nate about 1000 miles from the Jefferson Parish metro area moving Northwest at 9 miles per hour. Winds are sustained at 40 miles per hour with gusts up to 45 miles per hour. The storm is expected to be in the Gulf of Mexico by Friday afternoon. The system is expected to bring 3-5 inches of rain over the weekend with the chance for higher rain amounts under the storms bands. The heaviest period of rain will Saturday night into Sunday morning.

The (NWS) is forecasting conditions are favorable for this storm to strengthen to a Category 1 hurricane before it makes landfall. Models indicate landfall could be early Sunday along the Louisiana and Mississippi border. As these are models and predictions, we will update the public with the latest information as we receive it.

The Town of Grand Isle has issued a voluntary evacuation as TS Nate is expected to bring high tides of 3 to 5 feet and several inches of rain. Mayor David Camardelle added, “If anyone has vehicles, boats or campers in low areas they should bring them to higher areas until this storm has passed. All of our pumps are up and running and we also have back up pumps with Jefferson Parish on standby.”

As a precaution, Grand Isle School will be closed on Friday, October 6, 2017 and Monday,                                     October 9, 2017 and the library in Grand Isle will also be closed those days.

“This a good time to remind residents to start reviewing their storm plans in the event this becomes a hurricane. You want to make sure catch basins around your property are cleaned and storm drains are free of debris,” President Yenni said.

For assistance with drainage issues please contact:

Main Office Number (Yenni Bldg.) – 736-6751

East bank Drainage Complaints – 736-6578

West bank Drainage Complaints – 437-4939

After Hours – 736-6006

To receive weather and emergency bulletins from JPAlert, visit www.jeffparish.net to register

In our ongoing efforts to assist with the Governor’s Office relief for Puerto Rico, the Parish has collected 16 pallets of supplies. Drop offs will continue until Wednesday, October 11th at the following locations:

East Bank - JP Surplus- 920 David Dr. Metairie (behind 1st Parish Court)

West Bank - Odom Building (rear of building) - 5001 Westbank Expressway, Marrero

Both locations will operate from 8am - 7pm.

Parish Ordinance Section 36-188 prohibits motorists from traveling on flooded streets, which may increase the possibility of structural flooding due to wake action caused by moving vehicles.

Jefferson Parish has been declared a Storm Ready Community by the National Weather Service

Tangipahoa Parish

Tangipahoa Parish President Robby Miller announced this afternoon (Thursday, Oct. 5) that sandbag distribution will begin Friday, Oct. 6.

Sandbag distribution will be available from 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at the following locations:

TPG Pleasant Ridge Public Works, located at 44512 W. Pleasant Ridge Road in Hammond;

TPG Roseland Public Works, located at 63101 Commercial Street in Roseland.

The parish offers 15 sandbags for residential structures and 30 for commercial/businesses.

Miller encourages residents to stay tuned to the National Weather Service and local media. Tangipahoa Parish Government will also post updates on their Tangipahoa.org website and on the parish’s social media.

Slidell

Slidell Police Chief Randy Fandal is urging anyone with special needs, such as the elderly or those with special medical conditions, to leave flood prone areas, particularly the Palm Lake Subdivision and surrounding areas.

Starting at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, October 6th, the Slidell Police Department will be activated into “storm mode” in preparation for Tropical Storm / Hurricane Nate. Double the man power will be patrolling the City of Slidell, high water vehicles will be deployed, and boats will be available if needed. Chief Randy Fandal says, “We are anticipating flooding the in the known flood prone areas of Slidell, such as the Palm Lake subdivision and surrounding areas. The water is expected to rise starting tomorrow evening, and continuing through Sunday. The Slidell Police Department will be prepared in the event that local residents need to be evacuated; however, if you are familiar with your area flooding during storm events, we are encouraging you to leave early. We are preparing for the worse, but hoping for the best.”

Slidell residents are encouraged to keep up-to-date with storm information by monitoring the Slidell Police Department and City of Slidell’s Facebook pages.

St. Charles Parish

The school system is monitoring the tropical weather system with the parish's Emergency Operations Center.  At this time, there is no anticipated impact to our area tomorrow; therefore, schools will be open on Friday.  The Destrehan High School football game will be held as scheduled.

The parish is expected to begin experiencing outer bands on Saturday evening.  All school system activities scheduled for Saturday and/or Sunday are being cancelled.  However, the Destrehan High School homecoming dance scheduled for this Saturday has been postponed to next Saturday, October 14.

As a reminder, schools will be closed Monday, October 9 for the previously scheduled Fall Break.  A determination regarding Monday's school practice activities will be made by Monday morning and communicated by individual schools.  

A determination regarding the opening or closing of the School Board Office on Monday will be made by Sunday evening at 6:00 PM. Employees will be notified regarding Monday's status through the district's Blackboard Connect messaging system. 

From the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparation

The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) is activating the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) as Tropical Storm Nate moves toward the central gulf coast.  The EOC will move to Level 1 operations at 6:00 am Friday morning.  Level 1 is the highest activation level with all state agencies, support organizations and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) joined in the response. Conference calls with parishes in the potential impacted areas continue today. The National Weather Service (NWS) says Nate could strengthen into a hurricane before it makes landfall early Sunday. 

“High water is already a problem in many southeast Louisiana parishes,” said GOHSEP Director Jim Waskom.  “High tides and easterly winds in recent days are impacting some areas ahead of the storm. Those conditions may worsen over the weekend. Our window to prepare for Nate is closing quickly. Finalize your emergency plans. Check your emergency supplies. Be aware of potential road problems.  Monitor your local media and the National Weather Service for emergency notifications. Some evacuation orders are already being issued at the local level.  If you require special transportation or medical needs, check with your emergency managers for assistance.”

Many people are still living in FEMA Mobile Housing Units (MHU) or other temporary housing options following the 2016 floods.  FEMA offers this safety advice:

  • Never take shelter in an MHU during high winds, a tornado, a hurricane, or a flood.
  • All MHUs are equipped with a weather radio. If severe weather is predicted, monitor the weather radio and comply with any evacuation orders.
  • Always follow the guidance of local officials. It is their job to protect you, so it is your job to listen to their warnings and obey their orders.
  • Plan out evacuation routes. Be sure to plan multiple routes to several safe shelters so that you are ready for potential road closures.

In Case of Severe Storms

  • If a severe storm is forecast for your area, move to a sturdy building or shelter until the storm has passed.

In Case of a Tornado

  • If a tornado warning is issued for your area, evacuate the MHU immediately.
  • Go to the lowest floor of a nearby sturdy building or storm shelter, away from windows.

In Case of a Hurricane

  • Hurricanes are particularly dangerous because of their unpredictability. While they are usually accompanied by heavy rain and strong winds, they can cause tornados and floods.
  • Use the weather radio to monitor evacuation orders. Evacuate immediately if local officials recommended mobile home occupants to find sturdier shelter.

In Case of a Flood

  • If the potential for flooding exists in your area, monitor the status via the weather radio.
  • Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If a flash flood warning is issued, immediately evacuate and move to higher ground.
  • If you have time, place any important items on the highest shelves. Disconnect electrical devices, but not while wet or standing in water.
  • When evacuating, do not attempt to walk or drive through flooded areas. Six inches of water can cause you to fall and can flood most compact or midsize cars. A foot of water will cause most vehicles to float. Two feet of water can sweep away even trucks and SUVs.
  • Do not leave your pets behind in the MHU.

There is information available at GOHSEP’s http://www.getagameplan.org website on protecting you, your homes, your business and your pets.  Many of your local emergency agencies also have great information on websites and social media.  If you have friends or loved ones without access to cell phones or the internet, please make sure you help keep them informed about any weather threat.

Visit www.511la.org for road updates.  Keep your phones charged and near you while the threat continues in order to receive potential emergency messaging.

Find more tips on weather and preparedness on GOHSEP’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. You can receive emergency alerts on most smartphones and tablets by downloading the new Alert FM App.  It is free for basic service.  The Get A Game Plan App is another resource available to help you and your family prepare for any type emergency. You download the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Guide and find other information at www.getagameplan.org.

From Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain

Today, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., issued this statement pertaining to the tropical system expected to threaten the Gulf Coast region:

“While this storm is projected to be a fast moving storm, please be aware that heavy rain, possible flooding and intense wind are anticipated this weekend for Southeast Louisiana. Monitor your local forecasts and be prepared to move your livestock and protect your equipment from possible wind damage out of an abundance of caution,” said Strain.

Have a game plan in the event evacuations are called.  

Tips on preparing livestock trailers:

  • Check tire pressure and rubber for wear
  • Test brake and running lights
  • Inspect the overall condition of the trailer

Important items to take:

  • Health records (especially proof of EIA testing for horses)
  • Food and water
  • Special medications
  • Bridles or leads

Proper identification for livestock is crucial in the event of comingling.

Livestock owners who need assistance should call their local Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP).

As for household pets, identify a “pet friendly” hotel in advance of an evacuation, if necessary.

For more information on emergency preparation for livestock and family pets, go to www.LDAF.la.gov or www.getagameplan.org.

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