Jindal urges residents to prepare now for evacuations

BATON ROUGE, LA (KSLA) - Gov. Bobby Jindal says residents in areas that are expected to flood should prepare now for an evacuation. "My advice is not to wait," Jindal said moments ago during a news conference at GOHSEP in Baton Rouge. "Get prepared now."

The Army Corps of Engineers is taking steps Monday to protect New Orleans, opening flood gates in the Bonnet Carre spillway along the Mississippi. See above UStream video for a live stream provided by the Army Corps of Engineers of the spillway.

The massive spillway has 350 gates. Officials are opening 28 of them. They will see how much the river drops before deciding to open more. The water is diverted into Lake Pontchartrain and eventually into the Gulf of Mexico.

Upriver, the Corps has asked for permission to open another spillway near Baton Rouge. That could flood some of Louisiana's most valuable farmland.

Jindal says if the Morganza Spillway is opened, residents in that area could see flooding by the end of the week. An additional 175 guardsmen have been deployed to assist residents.

A decision to open the spillway could come as early as today and Jindal says they'll need up to five days to evacuate those in harms way.

Meanwhile, the governor also urged residents to stay away from the levee as efforts are made to shore it up; he says that oil and gas operators have been notified; he will be requesting a full emergency declaration so the state and individuals can be reimbursed; and the White Castle ferry has been closed.

The Mississippi is expected to crest in New Orleans next week at about 19 feet.

Jindal will travel to several potential impact areas Monday afternoon to meet with emergency officials on preparedness efforts. He will head to Krotz Springs at 1:05 p.m., Breaux Bridge at the Atchafalaya Welcome Center at 2:05 p.m. and Morgan City at the Port Commission Office at 3:20 p.m.

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