Chris DiMaria: Jeanerette and St. Mary Parish

Chris DiMaria
Posted at 5:25 PM, Jul 12, 2019

In Iberia Parish, some are leaving and some are staying put.

Reporter Chris DiMaria from our sister station KJRH Tulsa was in Jeanerette and St. Mary Parish today. You can scroll down to see what he's posted on social media today. You can follow him on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

Neighbors and first resonders are both getting ready, he reports.

This afternoon, the wind was really picking up in the bays along the coast, even hour ahead of storm winds forecast to arrive around 7 p.m. tonight.

At the Jeanerette Fire Station, officials estimate about 30,000 sand bags were filled this week. Friday afternoon, there was just a little bit of sand left.

Nine dump trucks came by to deliver sand, but it was all uses. Firefighters say people came in waves all week, but it was non-stop today.

Many people are choosing to stay in their homes to ride out the storm.

Juston Schouest said he's staying home.

"I stay for all of 'em. I'm not scared of none of 'em," he says. "This is what we've got. We're not rich but we make a good living. I'm staying."

Schoest owns a shrimp boat; he's being shrimping since he was 12 years old. He says his priority is taking care of his family.

"I'm going to make sure all my family members are safe and okay," he said. "We're all going to stay in touch, so if somebody needs something, one way or another I will get there."

Search and rescue teams have air boats and shallow water boats ready for calls. Water rescues at night will be the most dangerous. Once the winds reach 60 miles an hour, crews won't be able to go out until the winds die down.

Toney Wade of Cajun Coast Search and Rescue says rescue can be rough.

"There's a lot of emotion involved in it - worry, anxiety, fear for the safety of the team, especially being in the epicenter of where the storm's going to hit," he said. "Usually we're on the outskirts of the storm but this time we're going to be right in the middle of it."

These crews expect to receive their first call this evening, when the wind picks up and some flooding starts.

"We've got a lot of elderly people, a lot of stubborn people who don't want to leave their homes, so when water comes in we're going to have to launch our boats and get them," Wade said.

Wade says he's got 20 people on his team, and they expect to head out as early as 7 p.m. tonight.

Once the winds pick up, though, they'll have to wait to rescue.

"We say all the time we're not scared of what we see," he says. "It's what we can't see that scares us."