St. John Parish President asks residents to be prepared

Published 8:27 am Wednesday, August 17, 2016

St. John the Baptist Parish has declared a state of emergency as a precaution since the parish was added to Flood Warning, which lasts until 3 p.m.

As of this morning at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, Parish officials said the Garyville Gauge went from 3.04 at 8 p.m. Tuesday to 3.29 today.

Highway 641 has been closed in both directions between Interstate 10 and Highway 61 in Gramercy due to high water. There is no change in the gauge in Lake Maurepas.

Not much change was noticed in Garyville or Reserve, but a 2-inch rise was noted in canals near Highway 51 and Interstate 55 but water is still in the canals.

St. James reported 4.16 at Blind River and still rising.

Residents have reported parts of Hwy 51 are impassable and Peavine Road is covered and impassable.

According to Parish President Natalie Robottom’s office, residents who are elderly, sick or have difficulty managing on their own are encouraged to contact family members and friends and begin making preparations to leave their homes should the Parish ask them to leave.

Other residents with concerns about the elevation of their homes and neighborhoods should move their cars and raise furniture and household items. They should also gather medications and protect important papers and keepsakes.

“Although there is absolutely no certainty in the forecast for St. John the Baptist Parish, we do not want our residents caught in the situation of our neighbors. We are working with representatives of the Corps, Levee Board and State on modeling and better predictions of water levels. As more information becomes available we will get it out as soon as possible,” a statement reads.

Areas of concerns include far north of Airline in Reserve, far Northern LaPlace, areas along Interstate 10 and far northern Garyville.

The Emergency Operations Center has been activated.

Call 911 to report flooding, drainage or utilities concerns.

The Parish is actively monitoring water and lake levels throughout the region.

At this time, there remains a potential for increased water levels in canals, ditches and drainage outlets in low-lying areas of Garyville and Mt. Airy and Reserve north of Airline Highway due to backwater flooding from Blind River and Maurepas Swamp.

Officials are monitoring water on the Highway 51 low road and areas near the Interstate.

At this time, sand and bags are located at Captain G. Bourgeois and the Railroad Avenue, Garyville, Wallace and Pleasure Bend Fire Stations. St. John Parish will add more locations for sandbags today and encourage residents to bring their shovels and help fill more bags for neighbors.

The National Weather Service reports Thursday through Tuesday residents should expect scattered showers and thunderstorms will be possible.

A few storms could become strong, producing frequent lightning, gusty winds and brief heavy downpours.