GRETNA, LA (WVUE) - Tropical systems are innately unpredictable, but Jefferson Parish leaders said Friday that the parish is as prepared as it can be. Interim Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said he has boats, a helicopter and other equipment ready for emergencies.
Earlier in the afternoon Parish President Mike Yenni met with all of his department heads inside the parish's emergency operations center. Yenni said around 11 a.m. Saturday, the EOC will be fully staffed and Public Works Department staffers will be on the streets until the winds become too high.
In the town of Jean Lafitte, a low-lying community in Jefferson Parish, there is a mandatory evacuation. There are sandbags, rocks and portable pumps to fight rising waters. Some residents said they would leave, others said no way.
Parish government is assisting Lafitte and Grand Isle, which also has ordered residents out.
"Ninety-nine-point-nine percent pump capacity, we have one pump down at our Elmwood pump station, but that being said, with our new pump to the river fully engaged, this will kind of be the first hurricane that goes through. We have major pumps at that station, and that will help alleviate the stress on the water that would flow on the Soniat Canal and go to the Elmwood pump station," Yenni said.
"We're not going to block any streets or stop anybody from coming back in, and we're not going to be doing and make you leave, but we want to let you know it's serious," said Lafitte Mayor Tim Kerner.
"I'm coming to get my grandbabies and we're leaving...Definitely, definitely, the water comes in high and fast in here, so we're going to go," said Tina Corne.
Lopinto is asking residents to remain off the streets when the weather gets bad.
"The sheriff's office has resources to absolutely handle the emergency situations that occur, but we don't need to create any additional ones by people wandering outside their homes stepping on roofing nails. We don't need the first responders out there to handle things, that they don't need to be. We need them to be safe also, we need them to not be in these boats, we want them to be sheltering in place during the height of the storm so we're asking the public on this exercise, on this storm that's coming through, to be safe, to think of our first responders, so we don't have to use the assets that we have. We'd much rather have these in storage and not have to use in the street," said Lopinto.