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Jefferson Parish prepares for Cristobal; all government buildings will close on Monday

Updated: Jun. 5, 2020 at 7:55 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Jefferson Parish is now under a state of emergency ahead Cristobal.

On Saturday, Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng announced all government buildings will close on Monday, June 8 due to the storm.

This includes the Joseph S. Yenni Building, the General Government Building, the 24th Judicial District Court, the First Parish Court, Jefferson Parish Juvenile Court, Jefferson Parish Credit Union, Jefferson Parish libraries and all Jefferson Parish Parks and Recreation activities, including summer camps.

With a tropical storm warning now in effect, Jefferson Parish's Emergency Management Director tells residents to expect rising tides, Saturday evening, and worsening winds starting Sunday morning.

Entergy crews are already prepping for the possibility of downed power lines, ready with 2,500 additional resources.

“We have to prepare for both the storm event as well as the pandemic, so we are practicing social distancing guidelines. We’re ensuring we use hand sanitizer and we also ask the public to maintain those social distancing guidelines from our crews,” explained Melonie Stewart with Entergy Louisiana.

Lee Sheng says, though COVD-19 presents unique challenges, she believes the pandemic put the parish on guard.

"I would say we've kind of been in crisis mode since being in the heart of the coronavirus, per capita," said Sheng. "The communication has been there throughout all of the departments so, we're probably more ready."

As the storm is also expected to bring heavy rains, public works officials pumping capacity is at 100-percent, with operators on standby 24-7.

In coastal areas like Lafitte and Grand Isle, portable pumps are on hand.

Throughout the weekend, weather permitting, crews will continue to clean catch basins. Leaders add workers will also be ready to clean up after the storm.

"We have numerous employees that I've been through Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike so we have an experienced staff that is ready and capable of handling this event and the aftermath," Mark Drewes with Jefferson Parish Public Works said.

Beginning Friday, officials advise residents to be prepared with food and water to clean out catch basins whenever possible and to secure loose items outside, like furniture and trash cans.

Public safety leaders say they have the means to assist those who need help evacuating, but otherwise, urge people to stay home.

For the latest updates on the storm, text 888-777.

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