BATON ROUGE, LA (KPLC) - Gov. Bobby Jindal held a Unified Command Group meeting Monday morning and then a press conference where he urged Louisianians who may be in harm's way to take precautions today by stocking up on supplies or evacuating if needed.
"Today is the day to take any precautions. If you are in low lying areas and are thinking about evacuating, today is the day to do that. If you plan on hunkering down at home, today is the day to get supplies. I strongly encourage people not to wait," Jindal said.
"The track has shifted slightly to the west. There are now 20 parishes under a hurricane warning. The forecast currently shows that the storm will make a landfall as a strong category 1. However, they are also forecasting that the storm will have a slow-forward speed which means that the coast will see long periods of heavy wind," he continued.
Jindal said there will be tropical storm winds for 20 to 24 hours with a few locations seeing tropical storm winds for up to 36 hours.
Tropical storm force wind probabilities range from 80 to 90 percent for Southeast Louisiana north and south of Lake Pontchartrain and 70 percent across River Parishes and areas around Baton Rouge, he added.
He said for areas in the storm's direct path, the forecast shows hurricane force winds for 8 to 10 hours. We expect to the onset of the winds to begin late tonight and early Tuesday morning.
"In terms of rainfall, there will be 2 to 7 inches across much of Southeast Louisiana and could be 10 to 16 inches in some areas. We also may see some tornado activity around Tuesday and Wednesday. Hurricane force wind probabilities are now 20 to 30 percent in Southeast Louisiana south of Tidal Lakes and 10 to 18 percent north of tidal lakes, River Parishes and Baton Rouge area. The forecast is calling for tidal surges of between 5 to 8 feet around Lake Pontchartrain and 6 to 10 feet west of the Mississippi River," Jindal said.
Jindal said there will likely be localized flooding, downed tree limbs and power outages.
The following are updates provided Monday by Jindal's office:
STATE AGENCY/PARISH UPDATE
A number of parishes and areas have declared a mandatory evacuation, including:
Grand Isle and Lafitte in Jefferson Parish
Low lying areas in Jefferson Parish
South of the floodgates in Lafourche Parish
The East Bank in Plaquemines Parish
St. Charles Parish
Lowing lying areas of St. John
There are 23 parishes that have declared a state of emergency, including:
East Baton Rouge
West Baton Rouge
On Sunday, Jindal sent a letter to the federal government requesting a pre-landfall federal disaster declaration in preparation for the storm.
Currently, there are 8,000 CTN beds and 850 Medical Special Needs (MSN) beds available in state shelters. The MSN shelter is at the LSU Field House in Baton Rouge.
The mega shelter in Alexandria (located on campus of LSU-A campus) is open to accept evacuees. There are 2500 beds plus 200 MSN beds.
Two shelters are open in Shreveport for critical transportation needs with a total of 3,900 beds.
There is a shelter open in Bastrop with 1,600 beds.
There will be 13 Red Cross shelters with a total of 5,306 slots opening today.
Residents can call 211 or their parish Emergency Operations Center the for latest shelter information.
Additionally, there are 10 parishes that are opening parish-run shelters.
Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs
The Southeast LA Veterans Home in Reserve is in the process of securing a generator and fuel that will run the facility should the storm track allow for residents to stay in place.
Mobile units from the Monroe, Bossier City and Jennings Veterans Homes are in place at Reserve and ready to transport residents should an evacuation be necessary.
If the SELA Veterans Home in Reserve need to evacuate, residents will be moved as follows:
50 ambulatory residents will be relocated to the Southwest LA Veterans Home in Jennings.
99 remaining residents will be relocated to the LA Veterans Home in Jackson. These include Alzheimer, skilled nursing and bed-bound residents.
Both the Jennings and Jackson facilities have generators in place to run 100 percent of facility functions with an 80 hour supply of fuel on-hand and additional fuel supplies on stand-by.
The pharmacy at SELA Veterans Home in Reserve has filled pending prescriptions in 30-day supply for the entire Veterans Home system.
Should an evacuation of the SELA Veterans Home in Reserve be needed, the pharmacy will move all medications, records and computer systems for relocation at the LA Veterans Home in Jackson.
All five LDVA Veterans homes have fully stocked emergency kits on-hand including 90-day supply of standard medications.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
The LDWF Enforcement Division has activated 207 agents with vessels. The Alpha search and rescue (SAR) team, which is comprised of more than 100 agents with vessels is scheduled to stage equipment and personnel at Woodworth and Baton Rouge this morning, Aug. 28.
The Bravo SAR team, which is also comprised of more than 100 agents with vessels, will stage at Woodworth and Baton Rouge immediately after the Alpha team is deployed.
LDWF has secured inland wildlife management areas adjacent to Lake Pontchartrain, including Pearl River, Joyce, Manchac and Maurepas Swamp. Coastal facilities at Pass A Loutre, Biloxi, Salvador, Pointe Au Chenes and Atchafalaya Delta WMAs will be secured by 5 p.m. today, August 27.
All fisheries equipment, vessels and vehicles in coastal parishes are secured and fisheries staff are prepared and available to assist with any storm-related matters. The Fisheries Research Lab in Grand Isle, La. has been locked down in preparation of the storm.
Alligator Season was supposed to start on Wednesday and will be pushed back now to start on Saturday.
Five states are ready to send 50 agents via an EMAC agreement.
Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality
DEQ staff will be calling facilities in potentially impacted areas to remind them to implement emergency plans related to tropical storms/hurricanes.
DEQ has 224 pre-approved debris sites available.
Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections
The Department of Corrections is assisting in a number of inmate evacuations from Southeastern and coastal Louisiana, supported by correctional and Probation & Parole (P&P) officers and DOC transportation assets.
There have been 1100 inmates moved out of New Orleans and 224 out of St. Bernard. By the end of today, they will have moved over 2000 prisoners today.
Elayn Hunt Correctional Center is sending two offender crews to assist with sandbagging operations in Iberville Parish Monday. One twenty-man crew is working the day shift and the other will work the night shift.
DOC is ready to assist with civilian and pet sheltering operations.
Avoyelles Correctional Center is on standby to assist with the set-up of kennels for those civilians utilizing the shelter at Louisiana State University at Alexandria. Dixon Correctional Center has assembled pet kennels for pickup by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. Dixon is also ready to shelter pets should the need arise.
Louisiana State Police
The LSP Air Support is conducting periodic aerial reconnaissance of major contraflow evacuation routes in Troops A, B and L.
There is a state trooper liaison in every parish EOC that is under a hurricane warning.
LSP has worked with the state of Mississippi to pre-stage resources if contraflow is needed.
Louisiana Army National Guard
4,126 Soldiers and Airmen have been activated to support the storm response.
The LANG has provided 300 bus drivers to support DODT and DOE at Zephyr Field in Metairie.
By the afternoon, 16 LANG Liaison Officer Teams will have reported to parishes in the storm warning areas.
Assisting DHH and DCFS, Guardsmen have assembled 2,500 cots in Rapides Parish and 225 cots at the LSU Field House in Baton Rouge.
There are 921 Security and Command and control vehicles available, 503 high water vehicles, 74 boats, and 40 aircraft.
FEMA is sending 780,000 MREs, 800,000 bottles of water, and 15,000 tarps to be in Louisiana by tomorrow. Combined with the assets already in Louisiana, there will be 1.2 million MREs, 1.4 million bottles of water and 32,000 tarps.
The Governor signed an executive order suspending certain weight requirements to facilitate the transport of fuel and other commodities.
There are currently 44 coaches at Zephyr field and there will be 322 commercial buses by the end of the day.
DOTD has also secured 4 handicap vans, 5 para-transit vehicles, 41 school buses, 60 buses being picked up by LANG, 12 refrigerated trucks for pets, and 6 cargo vans for pets
Yesterday, DOTD suspended toll collections at LA 1 in Leeville and the Crescent City Connection Bridge in New Orleans to facilitate evacuation, emergency and protective services.
Today, ferry service from Gretna to Canal, Algiers to Canal and Lower Algiers to Chalmette will close at noon to facilitate securing the boats, landings, and raising ramps.
The LOOP is shutting down the marine terminal by noon. Employees will be moved and reestablish operations out of north park in Covington.
Louisiana Workforce Commission
The Louisiana Workforce Commission has arranged to provide meals to all evacuees at state hurricane evacuation shelters. Evacuees who find themselves at any state evacuation shelter will receive three complimentary meals a day for as long as they are staying at the shelter.
Louisiana Department of Natural Resources
The Fuel Team was activated on Sunday.
The Commissioner of Conservation is issuing emergency order today for operators to monitor storm progress, maintain communication with state agencies and make all preparations to secure sites for storms, to include such things as:
Removing stock on sites and fill tanks with water
Removing/securing loose equipment
Installing storm chokes and downhole plugs
Empty active E&P waste pits
Shut in where necessary
All other actions deemed necessary
DNR Contacted the 18 drilling rigs on water locations in SE Louisiana
12 rigs evacuating
5 rigs monitoring/may evacuate
1 rig yet to report status
In Assumption Parish at the sinkhole site, drilling has stopped, equipment at drill site being secured against potential storm winds and flooding, and derrick has been laid down.
In the Greater New Orleans Area:
The U.S. Coast Guard plans to close maritime access to navigable channels in the Greater New Orleans area, and will prohibit unapproved mooring in New Orleans area navigation canals within the levee system.
The Corps of Engineers expects to close gates today on the Orleans, London and 17th Street outfall canals.
The Corps plans to close the IHNC (Inner Harbor Navigation Canal) at tonight. This massive floodwall reduces the risk of storm surge from Lake Borgne pushing into St. Bernard Parish, New Orleans East, the 9th Ward, and Metro New Orleans.
The Corps plans to close the Seabrook Gate on the IHNC at Lakefront Airport later today.
There are two openings of concern in the Hurricane Protection levee system protecting New Orleans: the gap on east side of Duncan Canal which will be closed with Hesco baskets per the Corps-approved hurricane plan, and the gap at the Causeway. Interim gates are scheduled to be installed today.
Most of the gates on the gates on the East Bank have closed or will be closed today.
All of the gates on the West Bank will be closed by this evening.
The Old Bayou Bienvenue and Violet Control Structures are closed.
All gates on the Chalmette loop are closed.
In Lafourche Parish:
The System is still open to navigation, but closures are expected to commence today.
The Parish has purchased 1,350 linear feet of Hesco Baskets. CPRA is coordinating the delivery.
In Terrebonne Parish:
CPRA is assisting by using pumps staged at DOTD Houma Sub District.
The Placid Canal and Upper Little Caillou Canal are closed.
Bush Canal and the Humble Canal will be closed by noon today.
Sector gates are being monitored and will be closed if necessary on Bayou Dularge, Bayou Terrebonne and Bayou Little Caillou.
In Plaquemines Parish
There is 8,000 linear feet of visquine being placed on the East Bank back levees to protect from overtopping.
West Bank back levees have been raised by two feet to plus-four feet using sandbags.
Department of Health and Hospitals
There are 42 ambulances available, including:
1 for the field house at LSU
1 for Alexandria
5 for Plaquemines
5 for West Jeff Hospital
5 for East Jeff Hospital
10 for Orleans EMS
15 are being staged in Baton Rouge
There are 9 nursing homes that are evacuating, including 8 that have no HVAC capacity. This is a total of 997 residents.
There are a total of 17 nursing homes without HVAC capacity. Eight of those homes are being evacuated and DHH is working with the other 9 to encourage them to take precautions or evacuate.
DHH has asked FEMA for additional ambulances and medical teams, especially for the post-storm response.
There are 300 medical needs patients that have been identified in the New Orleans area who will be moving to state shelters. In Jefferson Parish, there are 300 medical needs patients who may need evacuation assistance but that number is expected to be lower.
Division of Administration
DOA will announce that there will be further office closures in the Baton Rouge area on Tuesday and Wednesday.
DOA will announce that there will be other state office closures as well.
Commissioner Paul Rainwater has been deployed to Southeast Louisiana to ensure the area has the supplies and resources needed as the storm approaches.
Department of Education
Currently, 9 parishes and the Recovery School District have closed schools and another 22 parishes are expected to close schools for tomorrow.
The Board of Regents reports that schools south of I-10 and I-12 and as far west as Lafayette, except for UL-Lafayette, will be closing by noon today. SUNO and UNO have relocated a small number of students. Southeastern Louisiana University will be closing at 5PM today.