Tropical Storm Nicholas is expected to stall over south Louisiana, dumping rain on areas already in dire straits after Hurricane Ida, said Gov. John Bel Edwards today.
The governor held a media briefing on Tropical Storm Nicholas this afternoon.
"The bottom line is, much of central and south Louisiana is projected to receive a lot of rain. That has already started, and one of the most distressing parts of this is, the heaviest rain is expected to fall in the areas most devastated by Hurricane Ida, down in southeast Louisiana," Edwards said. "That's challenging because many individuals live in homes that haven't been repaired, not even temporarily repaired, following Hurricane Ida. Many of them still have not had power restored, and this weather prevents crews from doing their work to restore power. Some who had power restored after Ida may lose it after Nicholas. Obviously this is not what we would want to have happen in Louisiana."
There are still almost 100,000 people in Louisiana without power from Hurricane Ida, plus already there are 13,500 outages related to Nicholas, primarily in areas restored to power after Ida passed through, the governor said. Gusting winds from Nicholas are causing some of those fixes to go out again, he said.
The governor urged people to take Nicholas seriously, as although it isn't a hurricane it is forecast to be a major rain-maker. The storm that caused so much flooding in 2016 didn't even have a name, he said.
Last night, the president gave the necessary authorization to let FEMA help with Nicholas, and also allows state to move federal help around to respond to problems related to Nicholas.
So far, officials are working to place pumps where needed, and cleaning up Ida debris out of drainage canals and other waterways to allow water from Nicholas to be processed. There are still nearly 9,000 troops in the state for Ida, some of whom have been positioned to respond to issues related to Nicholas with high water vehicles, boats and aircraft, the governor said.
There are Wildlife and Fisheries agents on standby with boats, ready to respond, and there are State Fire Marshal offices ready to help with boats as well. The State and Urban Search and Rescue teams, more than 200 people, are on standby, the governor said.
There are still about 1,300 people in shelters after Ida, the governor said. So far, FEMA has approved more than 285,000 applications to disburse more than $200 million to people with losses related to Ida, Edwards said. More than 600,000 people have registered with FEMA for Ida claims, he said.
The state still is reporting deaths related to Ida; today a 70-year-old man in St. Tammany Parish who died due to heat from extended power outage was added to the death toll. That brings total to 29 - 13 related to heat, six to CO poisoning.
State Health Officer and Medical Director Dr. Joseph Kanter said pharmacies are coming back on line following Ida, with all independent pharmacies open and many Walgreens, CVS and Walmart pharmacies back up and running. He said specifically there have been some issues with insulin, especially for people who lost power and had to get replacement insulin.
"If you were unable to fill your insulin, please try again today and tomorrow, you should be able to fill it," Kanter said.
Folks on Medicaid who need to refill prescriptions early because they were lost in the storm, you can do this where ever you are, he said. There is no co-pay or penalty, he said.
If you're not insured but you need help getting your meds because of storm issues, the Emergency Prescription Assistance Program has been lauched and will provide people who live in affected areas with replacement meds free of charge, he said. Call the EPAP hotline and enroll, and then you can get help refilling your prescriptions: 1-855-793-7470.
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