State of Emergency Declared in Louisiana as Residents Prepare for Hurricane Harvey Impacts
Meteorologist Ari Sarsalari details the rain and flooding expected in Louisiana due to Hurricane Harvey.
A state of emergency has been declared for the entire state of Louisiana.
Cameron Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness issued a mandatory evacuation.
Up to a foot of rain is expected in parts of southwestern Louisiana through Thursday.
A state of emergency has been declared for the state of Louisiana as Hurricane Harvey began to make landfall Friday.
“All arms of the state’s emergency preparedness and response apparatus are planning for the serious threat posed by Hurricane Harvey, and we are calling on all Louisianans throughout the state to do so as well,” Governor John Bel Edwards said in a statement. “I will continue to direct all of the necessary resources to preparing for the worst as we all pray for the best, but rest assured, state and local officials are working around the clock to monitor and respond to this potentially dangerous situation.”
Wind and Rain Forecast
Edwards added that he was helping coordinate with state agencies and local governments to put “resources in place for citizens who may need assistance.”
The Cameron Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness issued a mandatory order of evacuation, this included the towns of “Hackberry, Johnson Bayou, Holly Beach, Cameron, Creole, Grand Chenier and Big Lake.”
Vermilion Parish Police Jury President Ronald Darby has ordered a voluntary evacuation of low lying areas below LA Highway 14.
Emergency high-water-rescue vehicles and boats were positioning themselves in preparation for potential impacts from the storm.
Harvey was expected to bring 3 to 5 inches of rain to New Orleans (through Thursday). Up to 12 inches is possible in far southwestern Louisiana. Sandbags were being offered to city residents to prepare for severe flooding. The Louisiana National Guard was preparing 500,000 of them ahead of the hurricane, according to Governor Edwards.
Various New Orleans institutions and colleges were closely watching the path of the storm.
“We will continue to monitor the situation closely, as the erratic movement and behavior of Hurricane Harvey prevent more accurate rainfall predictions to the east of Texas,” Tulane University said on Thursday.
Concerns remained about whether New Orleans’s flood drainage pumping system would be able to handle heavy rainfall from Hurricane Harvey.
“We remain in a state of diminished draining capacity until more of our turbines and pumps are fully restored,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said on Thursday. “We’re in a more vulnerable space than we should be in…We’re getting a threat at a time when we’re not in our strongest position.”
“On Wednesday, Aug. 9, the Sewerage & Water Board lost service to one of its power turbines, which provides power to a majority of the City’s pumping stations serving the East Bank of New Orleans,” Mayor Landrieu’s office said in a statement to the press. “The turbine is running after being successfully repaired and gradually brought back online. If all of the power from Entergy continues, the City will be able to handle typical rainfall. However, the East Bank of New Orleans west of the Industrial Canal remains at risk in the event of a major rain storm until additional turbines are brought back online.”
The mayor acknowledged on Thursday that while New Orleans has 120 water pumps, currently only 105 were operational.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency was assisting the city’s flood pump system.
According to the Washington Post, William B. (Brock) Long, FEMA Administrator, met with Mayor Landrieu and Governor Edwards to address readiness ahead of the storm.
“Preparedness is a partnership between the local, state and federal level,” Long said in a statement to the press. “Here, there is great concern over the city of New Orleans’s ability to pump water out of the so-called bowl.”