Drill gets St. Charles ready for hurricane

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 24, 2000

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / June 24, 2000

TAFT – “Hurricane Louise” struck Wednesday morning in St. CharlesParish, and 52 representatives of various St. Charles Parish departmentsworked through their response during a tabletop drill conducted by Emergency Preparedness Director Tab Troxler.

Troxler’s drill, held at Occidental Chemical’s Oxy Cottage, included representatives from Waterworks, Public Works, Sewerage, Recreation and Planning and Zoning.

Troxler recalled that Tropical Storm Frances two years ago sent a 4.5-foot storm surge which put Airline Highway under water for several days.

However, certain lack of response and inaction by some parish departments left them unprepared in some respects.

He recalled that forecasters centered on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast as the likely strike area for Frances but told parish employees that forecasting is extremely inexact and worsens over time.

At 72 hours away forecasters can miss the eventual landfall spot by as much as 285 miles. At 48 hours it lessens to 191 miles. At 24 hours itcuts to 101 miles.

Dr. John Gray’s predictions for the 2000 hurricane season includes 12named storms, including eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes.

The season’s activity historically peaks between the last 10 days of August and the first 20 days of September.

However, Gray’s predictions include a 36 percent chance of a major hurricane strike somewhere on the Gulf Coast this year.

With that in mind, Troxler called on each department to review their preparations already made this year.

Sandbag inventories, filled and unfilled, were reviewed, along with overnight accommodations being worked out with the Luling Volunteer Fire Department for storm workers. Food supplies and cooks are beingsettled, along with medical supplies and available EMT-trained personnel.

Then the exercise itself began, with each department reviewing what they should be doing as “Hurricane Louise” approached over a period of several days.

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