PLAQUEMINES PARISH, LA (WVUE) - Plaquemine Parish leaders are warning residents to evacuate before floodgates close Saturday.
There are mandatory evacuations in place for the east bank and all areas outside levee protection. The parish also issued voluntary evacuations for the west bank south of Oakville.
Visitors and locals in Myrtle Grove spent much of the day preparing their boats and gathering their belongings before heading out of town.
"We're just packing up, we're going to leave tonight so we don't have to pull the boat in 50 mph winds," said Florida resident Bart Knellinger.
Sal LaMartina drove in Friday from Houston to tend to his home in Plaquemine.
"Five a.m., I'm heading out of here to head back to Houston. I left this morning at 5:30, got back here at 12 and started putting all of this stuff away," said LaMartina.
Parish President Amos Cormier says Myrtle Grove is one of the most vulnerable areas in the parish. He says the parish is taking this storm very seriously.
Leaders say close to 70 boats have been anchored on the river and around 30 barges will be secured to prevent any damage from drifting vessels.
President Cormier says the parish will close the Empire floodgate at 7 a.m. and the Caernarvon gate at around 10 a.m.
Residents we spoke to say they're heeding warnings.
"Always anxious. Isaac was a mess, so hopefully this one isn't that bad," said Villere Reggio.
Cormier says they suspended the ferry toll and are offering buses and a shuttle for transportation.
Those on the west bank are under voluntary evacuations, at this time, but if the water rises, they'll have to leave, too.
Because the exact track of this storm is still uncertain, President Cormier encourages those who live on the west bank to get out now.