Governor Jindal said, “We have all seen the flooding in the Dakotas, Minnesota and other locations in the Upper Mississippi River system and know that the river levels are projected to rise above historic levels in some areas, which is why we held this UCG meeting today – so we could identify resources and ready them in the event of an emergency.
“Today – We are issuing a state of emergency statewide to authorize agencies to prepare for and respond to the threat of flooding from the Mississippi River, Atchafalaya River and related bodies of water. We are also putting the Louisiana National Guard on alert so they are prepared to support local flood fighting efforts and respond to a possible emergency flooding situation.”
Governor Jindal said that in discussions with federal officials, the UCG identified some key low-lying areas that could be at risk of flooding, including: Morganza, Mississippi River islands, The Angola area, and Morgan City/Berwick.
The Governor said the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and DOTD officials are currently conducting: daily river levee inspections with levee districts; daily calls with levee districts; emergency resource inventory update; and deploying engineers and mitigation measures (sandbags, gabion baskets and other resources) to vulnerable areas.
MS River Continues to Rise
The current river stage in Cairo, Illinois - at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers - is 58.8 feet. The river is rising there an average of 2.2 feet a day over recent days and is expected to crest around May 2nd. The flood stage is Cairo is 40 feet, meaning the river is currently 18 feet above flood stage there.
The current flow on the river is about 2.3 million cubic feet per second. Tributaries from Pittsburgh, Penn. to Cairo, Illinois are currently flowing at 200 percent normal volumes. The Mississippi River is above flood stage from Cairo, Illinois to Maysville, Ken. Peak flows generally take about two weeks to make it downstream to Louisiana.
Current MS River levels in Louisiana include:
· Red River Landing: 48 (flood stage 48)
· Baton Rouge, LA: 31 (flood stage 35)
· New Orleans, LA: 12 (flood stage 17 with 20 feet of protection)
Atchafalaya River levels in LA include:
· Butte Larose, LA: 14 (flood stage 25)
· Morgan City, LA: 5.6 (flood stage 5)
STATE EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS
· Louisiana National Guard soldiers and airmen stand ready to assist state and local agencies. LANG has high water vehicles, engineer assets, watercraft and aircraft available as needed.
· GOHSEP activated the Crisis Action Team (CAT) Wednesday, April 27, 2011.
· GOHSEP is in contact with the parishes that could be impacted in the event state assistance is needed, and inventoried 1.8 million sandbags ready to be deployed.
· LSP Troop Personnel will monitor highways, which are prone to flooding. Should flooding occur, LSP will work with partners to close necessary highways and develop alternate routes.
· DOTD is staging assets including trucks and fuel reserves, and placing personnel on standby for flood related work. DOTD administrators are assessing staffing needs and working with its districts across the state to identify resources that can be re-allocated to affected areas, if needed.
· DOTD will work with area officials by providing trucks and drivers in support of sand bagging operations. High water signage will be deployed and roads will be closed as necessary due to flooding.
· DOTD also has 50 dump trucks ready to activate.
· LDWF Enforcement agents are on call 24 hours a day to assist in search and rescue missions. Department vessels are on standby for any flood response needs, including search and rescue, and enforcement of no wake zones in areas where residences or businesses could be affected by flood water conditions.
· All Enforcement Agents are trained in swift water rescue and first aid.
o 230 agents, 200 watercraft, and three fixed wing aircraft are available as needed.
· LDWF is also working with other state agencies, including DEQ, to coordinate monitoring in Lake Pontchartrain, in the event the Bonnet Carre Spillway needs to be opened.
AG and Forestry
· LDAF is on standby with portable cattle pens to assist in the herding and movement of livestock if required.
· LDAF has evacuation plans in place for residents with critical transportation needs and their pets if evacuations are ordered.
· LDAF has also trained rapid assessment teams to document and report food and agricultural problems to local responders and remain on standby to offer support.
DNR – Coastal Management
· The Office of Coastal Management is prepared to activate the Fuel Team to coordinate fuel supplies to facilitate any evacuations. OCM will issue an emergency declaration setting forth the parameters of Emergency Use Authorization for Coastal Use Permitting and have staff available to process any request for emergency use authorizations under the Coastal Zone Management Program.
· DCFS, in working with the American Red Cross, has 78,187 total shelter spaces available in state if needed. More than 70 percent of these shelter spaces are in close proximately to parishes along the Mississippi River and the Atchafalaya River basin.
o 5,175 spaces could open with just 12 hours notice; the rest could open within 72-96 hours.
o More than 40,000 cots (State and ARC), nearly 100,000 Meals Ready to Eat available, 42,000 hygiene kits, 32,000 blankets and 20,000 pillows are on hand and available.
· All contracted vendors (mass feeding, showers, etc) have been contacted and are on alert.
DHH – Flood Tips for Residents
· In the event of flooding, DHH reminds residents:
o Do not walk through flowing water.
o Do not drive through a flooded area
o Stay away from power lines and electrical wires
o Turn off your electricity when you return home
o Watch for animals, especially snakes
o Be alert for gas leaks