Oct 4, 2013 5:53 PM by PRESS RELEASE
Today, Governor Bobby Jindal met with the Unified Command Group at the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness to get the latest update on the state's preparations for Tropical Storm Karen. The Governor emphasized the need for Louisianians to get a game plan ahead of the storm and urged all Louisianians to stay informed of updates from local officials.
Governor Jindal said, "As Tropical Storm Karen continues to move northwest in the Gulf, we're putting assets and resources in place across the coast in case parishes need assistance. The National Weather Service has stressed not to focus on the center of the storm track because this system is large and disorganized with a dispersed center. The strongest impacts of the storm are expected to be east of the center of the system.
"This is a slow moving storm that is expected to cross Southeast Louisiana on Saturday night. While the storm is not expected to strengthen, we know that no two storms are the same and we cannot take anything for granted. That's why we always urge everyone to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. We want all Louisianians to make sure they have a game plan in place to protect themselves and their families as this storm makes its way toward our coast."
Some parishes have declared a state of emergency, including:
St. John the Baptist
MANDATORY EVACUATIONS have been ordered by local officials for Grand Isle, Port Fourchon, Leeville and all areas of Lafourche Parish south of the levee and locks in Golden Meadow.
Plaquemines Parish is ordering a MANDATORY EVACUATION starting at 6 o'clock tonight for the entire east bank of Plaquemines Parish and for all communities on the west bank with no levee protection. The Belle Chasse Auditorium in Plaquemines Parish will be opened as a shelter for approximately 200 people if needed.
· The Louisiana National Guard has approximately 2,250 soldiers and airmen on duty at this time to prepare and respond to any operations in support of Tropical Storm Karen.
· LANG units continue to mobilize and prepare for potential emergency support operations including: Integrated Search and Rescue (boats and helicopters), emergency evacuation, security operations, engineer work teams and commodities distribution.
· LANG has deployed four liaison teams to coordinate with local and state officials and improve inter-agency communication in the following parishes: Plaquemines, Lafourche, St. John and Orleans.
· LANG is currently relocating emergency commodities (103,680 MREs and 69,120 bottles of water) to the National Guard's Regional Staging Area in Tangipahoa Parish. LANG is prepared to conduct commodities distribution as required.
· Coastal Levee districts continue to close non-essential gates on the perimeter. No gate closures are expected across highways at this time. The Levee Information Management System (LIMS) is actively tracking gate closures.
· In Orleans Parish, the Coast Guard has enacted the Restricted Navigational Access (RNA) in the IHNC corridor. Vessels that do not have an approved mooring plan from the Coast Guard must vacate the corridor.
o Members of SLFPA-East along with the Coast Guard are performing a reconnaissance flight this afternoon to assess RNA compliance.
o The IHNC sector gate and the Bayou Bienvenue Lift Gate remain open.
o The Corps of Engineers is considering their possible closure tomorrow if necessary; the IHNC concrete barge gate remains closed.
o The Old Bayou Bienvenue gate remains closed and will not reopen until the storm has passed and the tide differential lowers.
o The Orleans Levee District has closed all gates with sills below +6 feet and railroad gates in and around the IHNC corridor.
o The Highway 11 gate will remain open at this time and will only be closed if surge levels in Lake Pontchartrain are predicted to reach +8 feet.
o Today the Corps will close all gates on the Orleans outfall canals (17th, Orleans, London).
o Tide levels in Lake Pontchartrain near the Rigolets are +1.77 feet.
· In Jefferson Parish, including the Westbank of St. Charles and Plaquemines Parish, the Southeast La. Flood Protection Authority-West has closed all non-essential gates and is on standby for additional closures should the need arise.
The East Jefferson Levee District has closed all non-essential gates. No additional closures are expected.
Near the West Bank and its vicinity, gates at Harvey Canal, Hero Canal, Bayou Segnette and Sellars canal (also known as Bayou Verret) will be closed today.
Currently there are no plans to close the Western Closure Complex.
· In St. Bernard Parish, the Lake Borgne Basin Levee District (LBBLD) opened the old Bayou Dupre Sector gate last night (during low tide) to allow fishing vessels in. LBBLD opened the old Bayou Dupre sector again this morning for about an hour from 10:30 to 11:30 to allow additional vessels in.
After today's brief opening the Old Bayou Dupre sector gate was closed and will remain closed until the storm has passed.
All pump stations are fueled up and ready to operate.
The Caernarvon Sector Gate will close today at 1:00 p.m.
In the River Parishes (including Terrebonne and Lafourche):
o There are no imminent closures or flood fighting activities expected in the Pontchartrain Levee District.
o The South Lafourche Levee District- Larose gate is currently closed. The Golden Meadow lock will continue to allow boats in.
o Terrebonne Levee & Conservation District has closed the Placid Canal Floodgate in Chauvin.
o The Humble Canal and Bush Canal Floodgates in Montegut was closed today.
o The Bayou Terrebonne Floodgate in Montegut and the Boudreaux Canal Floodgate in Chauvin were closed today due to rising tides.
o The Bayou Grand Caillou and Houma Navigation "Bubba Dove" Floodgates in Dulac will be closed by 6PM today (Friday). All mariners are encouraged to closely monitor the conditions and prepare for alternative safe harbor routes.
· CPRA continues working with levee districts to assess flood supply inventories and is moving key equipment into position.
· CPRA is prepared to initiate contingency contracts as needed.
· DHH Regions are updating staffing rosters for medical special needs shelters (MSNS) and reviewing position assignments in the Employee Emergency Database (EED).
· DHH's Health Standards Section conducted a call with Riverbend Nursing Home in Plaquemines Parish. No evacuation is planned for the facility at this time. The facility does have generators.
· DHH has activated its readiness contract for supplemental staff support for any potential Search and Rescue or post-landfall operations.
· The Dialysis Network has notified its network of providers to be available for patients should they be displaced and require dialysis.
· As a precautionary measure, DHH will close oyster harvesting areas 1-23, which are located from Lake Borne in St. Bernard to Oyster Bayou in Terrebonne parish, effective at sunset on Friday, October 4. This covers from the eastern side of the Mississippi over to just west of the Atchafalaya Basin.
· DCFS team members have been placed on standby status.
· Initial contact made has been made with vendors to ensure available resources are mobilized. Agency has reviewed resources in state as well as verified shelter capabilities - 8,900 State Spaces available.
· DCFS has resources positioned in Baton Rouge ready to deploy to locally run shelters if requested.
· The agency has contacted the American Red Cross to gather staffing and shelter availabilities.
· Elmer's Island, on the southwestern tip of Jefferson Parish, has been closed until further notice.
· Assessments will be conducted on the island after the storm before reopening.
· The Grand Isle Marine Research Lab has been secured, and all personnel evacuated.
· Fisheries staff in Buras site are now loading and evacuating heavy equipment.
· The Enforcement Division has alerted every agent statewide to be ready for any possible search and rescue missions.
· Approximately 190 agents with trucks and vessels are on standby. Agents are monitoring the storm and preparing search and rescue equipment.
· Presently the four 23' vessels at the Grand Isle Lab are evacuated to the South Lafourche Levee District. The 14' and 18' vessels will be ready for use and the 32' and 34' are on stand-by ready to go to Baton Rouge if necessary. All POV's will be off the island and the remaining crew will each a have a truck for evacuation.
· 46 vessels and vehicles in coastal areas are being moved today.
· 120 vehicles are available for evacuation or emergency needs
· 140 vessels are available for evacuation or emergency needs
· The Louisiana State Police Emergency Operations Center is activated and monitoring Tropical Storm Karen.
· Patrol Troops are assessing manpower and resources to ensure appropriate assets are in place.
· PIOs are using traditional media and social media to keep the public informed of developments.
· Troop Commanders across South Louisiana are working with shift supervisors to ensure adequate manpower coverage in the event of storm impact.
· Communication has been ongoing with local law enforcement agencies and DOTD representatives to coordinate transportation and public safety efforts.
· Patrol Troopers are staying engaged with community members in their respective areas as well as personnel from neighboring agencies.
· Troop personnel are regularly patrolling area roadways and interstate systems for traffic congestion and incidents.
· Troop A, B, C, and L are on standby. BOI Rapid Response Teams on standby to support Troops. All other DPS/LSP personnel in southern area of the state on standby.
· Air Support Unit is on standby for support missions.
· DOTD Staff is monitoring the weather and is prepared for Emergency Operation Center activation.
DOTD Emergency Operations Personnel are on extended duty and on standby.
· Communications checks with all districts and state agency partners have been completed.
· La. 1077 (Lake Road) in Madisonville is closed.
· The I-55 Service Road at the Ruddock Interchange in St. John Parish is still passable but may need to be closed later tonight.
· DOTD plans to close the Ostricia Locks on the east bank of Plaquemines Parish and evacuate personnel at 6 p.m. this evening. Empire Locks are intended to remain operational as long as possible, but that is subject to change.
· Tolls on La. 1 were suspended at noon today to facilitate evacuation efforts in Grand Isle.
· DOTD will activate its Emergency Operation Center tomorrow at 6 a.m.
· Effective at Noon today, operations at LOOP's Marine Terminal facility were suspended.
· Given the current weather forecast, it is projected that marine operations will remain suspended for the next 48 hours until around midday on October 6.
· Crude oil deliveries from LOOP's Clovelly facilities continue.
· Given the current forecast, LOOP does not expect to have to suspend the Clovelly operations throughout this weather event.
· DEQ and DNR are working with the Fuel Team to make sure proper fuel amounts are available.
· The Office of Conservation is monitoring progression of the event and will issue advisements to exploration and production companies if needed.
· Both agencies have staff on standby.
· DEQ has 317 pre-approved debris sites as needed, and teams will be ready to partner with State Police for rapid assessment needs.
· Ambient Air Monitoring stations for air assessment are secure, and all radiological licensees have been contacted to verify security.
· DOC has topped off fuel tanks and ensured generators and radio equipment are working properly.
· Correctional and Probation and Parole staff are on standby to respond. No major impacts to state facilities are anticipated.
· Rayburn Correctional Center is cancelling offender visitation for Saturday and Sunday, October 5-6, 2013.
· On Friday morning, DOC/Probation and Parole staff completed the escort and transport of 134 female inmates from Orleans Parish Prison to the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women in St. Gabriel.
· In addition, 298 male inmates from Orleans Parish Prison (OPP) were transported to Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel Parish.
· The OPP inmates were evacuated to state facilities because of tropical storm-force winds anticipated in the New Orleans area.
· The Agriculture Commissioner is urging livestock and pet owners to make arrangements ahead of time to move their animals in the event of flooding.
· The agency is recommending that cattle and horse owners identify an area on their property that is least likely to flood so that livestock can quickly and easily be moved.
· The agency is advising that livestock trailers be checked for tire pressure, tire wear, brakes, running lights and overall condition; and if animals are moved, health records, food, medications and proper identification for livestock that are evacuated, are important to have in this situation.
· Livestock owners who need assistance should call their local Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP) for a list of veterinarians and trained professionals who can assist. Dixon Correctional inmates are available to load animals, if necessary.
· LDAF has made contact with its fuel contractor in the event fuel is needed.
· Pet cages are staged around the state, at LDAF and also at Dixon Correctional if requested.
· LED is in communication with and will serve as a resource for the LSBDC (Louisiana Small Business Development Center) should the need arise following tropical weather.
· LED's BERG (Business Expansion and Retention Group) outreach, if needed, will start with companies on Sunday.
· LED stands ready to activate the Louisiana Business Emergency Operations Center, or LA BEOC, in partnership with NIMSAT (National Incident Management Systems and Advanced Technologies at ULL), the LSU Stephenson Disaster Management Institute and GOHSEP.
· LA BEOC facilitates two-way communication between businesses - and critical infrastructure resources - including state and local governments - during emergency management responses to crises.
· Resources are available online via www.labeoc.org during virtual activation and through the LA BEOC's LSU South Campus location during physical activation: (225) 334-BEOC (2362).
· LED also stands ready to implement an assessment of damages and economic loss sustained in the state due to a tropical weather disaster. A team of economists will coordinate this effort to facilitate the state, local and federal response in the event of a disaster striking the state.
· LDOE has access to more than 350 buses if needed, and 10 buses will be utilized by DOTD for evacuations.
· At this point no schools are closed and no school activities are postponed; however, staff continues to monitor the storm and will close or postpone activities as needed.
· LDOE staff is prepared to staff shelters as necessary.
· The LWC has notified its food vendors of the possibility that they may be called to provide meals for evacuees and first responders.
· Two vendors are available for all state evacuation shelters.
· LWC's customer service call center is operational with a backup center available.
· Staff is ready to assist those possibly unable to file online for unemployment.
· Southeast LA Veterans Home (Reserve) will provide shelter in place to all 150 residents.
· Additional supplies of medications, food and medical supplies have been secured.