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Gov. Edwards, FEMA’s leader urge Louisianans to prepare for tropical weather

New Orleans area governments are getting ready
Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 5:53 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Governor John Bel Edwards and the head of FEMA along with local leaders urged everyone to prepare for the expected tropical weather this weekend.

In Saint Charles Parish, some people were making sandbags because they fear there could be flooding.

“In my particular area it can get kind of bad, we have bad flooding in general in our neighborhood even with just a regular hard rain I’ve found that I’m either on the verge of flooding or flooding,” said a Norco resident.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell happened to be in Louisiana to announce federal disaster aid for the state and she joined the governor in urging the public to remain on alert and prepare now for heavy rains.

“Right now everybody in Louisiana and on the coast needs to be paying attention. And I want to say that because we have rivers that are already kind of high and ditches that are already full and streams and so forth the smaller rain that we may have experienced last month could be just as catastrophic,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Criswell said residents should not wait to begin making storm preps.

“Unfortunately, Louisianans are all too familiar with the impacts and the need to be prepared and so as the governor stated the time is now to make sure that you are doing what you can to prepare for the storm,” she said.

Edwards noted the coincidence related to the timing of Criswell’s visit to the state. He said arrived on Tuesday and met with local leaders including those in New Orleans.

“Quite frankly, her visit could not come at a better time to help us underscore the importance of being prepared for hurricane season and really any other disaster that we may experience, but especially now as we’re watching the development of a storm system in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Edwards.

New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell says the city is preparing but the aged drainage system is top of mind.

“It’s the rainfall, right? That’s the concern, the rate of rain which we don’t know yet, you know, you anticipate it as well as just the continued challenges that we’re having at our Sewerage and Water Board relative to our power source and so we have maintained great operations, we feel confident but at the same time we do understand the aging infrastructure challenges that we continue to face,” said Cantrell.

And in the neighboring suburb of Jefferson Parish precautions are underway.

Timothy Gautreau is assistant Director of Jefferson Parish Emergency Management.

“Total amount of pumps in Jefferson Parish 185, we have 192 ready to go, the other three should be back online next week sometime; these pumps are some of our smaller, lower-lying areas to make up for those down pumps we have some portable pumps going down to the Lafitte and Grand Isle areas, so we’ll be able to help out with the pumping capacity to make up for those that are down,” he said.

And while local governments are cleaning as many catch basins as they can ahead of the anticipated bad weather Gautreau said residents can also play a role.

“If everybody can go out in front their houses to make sure the catch basins are cleared of debris if they’re not cleared of debris if they could do it themselves, if not then they can call and report those to us so that we can get crews out there to make sure that they are taken care of,” he said.

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