ST. BERNARD La. (WVUE) - The high river and possibility of strong storm surges is putting leaders in coastal parishes on high alert Wednesday night (July 10), as voluntary and mandatory evacuations have been issued for parts of the area.
St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis said every hour he is talking with the army corps of engineers and other officials on what they can expect to see.
As of Wednesday night, McInnis said the Army Corps of Engineers told him if we do see a tropical storm, water should not over top the levee in St. Bernard. But still, McInnis is urging parish residents to stay cautious and prepared, but not to panic.
“We want our families to stay vigilant. We want everybody to prepare for the worst. We want everyone to keep their family safe, to make sure they look at all of the information and do what is right for their family," McInnis said. "Like I said, the information we’re getting right now sounds good for the long term for this event.”
In Plaquemines Parish, however, concerns are higher.
A voluntary evacuation is underway for the entire east bank and parts of the west bank Wednesday night. Beginning at 6 a.m. Thursday, the evacuation will become a mandatory order on the east bank and areas spanning from the Oakville floodgate south to Venice on the west bank.
Because the Corps is currently under its longest flood fight, Plaquemine Parish President Kirk Lepine said he’s worried what that might do to the levee system. Lepine said he’s brought these concerns to the Corps, but still, with such a high river during hurricane season, he said he is concerned.
“We’ve never experienced a high river like this before in such a early period of the hurricane season. The unknown is what’s got us to a little concerned," Lepine said. "We want the public to heed to our warnings. If we asked you to evacuate, if we ask you to move, please find a way. And if you don’t, please contact your local officials and we’ll help you evacuate.”
The evacuation process was underway for the parish’s nursing home residents, as well as its prison’s inmates Wednesday.
Most of the residents FOX 8 spoke with said they are heading to west Monroe, where they have a cooperative agreement.
For those who may not have the means to evacuate, Lepine said to call the parish at 504-934-6940 or 504-274-2470 to coordinate a pickup. Make sure you leave tour name, address, whether or not you have any pets to bring and your contact information.
Grand Isle is also on a voluntary evacuation order due to the threat of the storm.
St. Bernard Parish residents can get sandbags from the sheriff’s office Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the port.