Parish president gives update on Ida: ‘We haven’t seen the worst of this storm’

Published 3:39 pm Sunday, August 29, 2021

LAPLACE — St. John the Baptist Parish residents experienced high winds and power outages early this afternoon as Hurricane Ida made landfall along the Louisiana Coast, but Parish President Jaclyn Hotard said the worst is yet to come.

During a Facebook Live with Sheriff Mike Tregre, Hotard told residents to expect weather conditions to continue deteriorating through 8 or 9 p.m.

“We haven’t seen the worst of this storm. We’ve had so many people calling EOC asking if it’s over, but it hasn’t really begun,” Hotard said.

Hurricane Ida remains a Category 4 storm with wind speeds of 140 mph. Ida is moving northwest at 11 mph and continuing to slow down, meaning impacts will be drawn out across several hours.

As of 3 p.m., St. John Parish had experienced sustained winds of 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph. The National Weather Service forecasts northeast winds of 30 to 40 mph with gusts around 65 mph for the rest of the day, increasing to 65 to 80 mph sustained winds and gusts around 100 mph later in the afternoon.

The majority of LaPlace is currently without power, and outages are widespread across the parish. Hotard said Entergy will begin working to restore power once conditions are safe for linemen.

There have been no reports of flooding at this time. However, the lake is rising near Highway 51, and experts have predicted 5 to 7 feet of storm surge.

“We do know with this type of storm surge and the rain we will be seeing, there is a possibility of flooding in the low-lying areas,” Hotard said.

Damage assessments will occur when weather conditions improve.

Sheriff Mike Tregre said police, firefighters and EMS are unable to respond to calls with the current wind conditions. He urged residents to stay indoors until the storm has passed through. A parish-wide curfew has been set for 6 p.m. tonight.

Tregre also suggested residents put their cell phones on low battery mode.

“Save it for the worst hours that are about to come,” he said.

For more weather updates, text SJPWEATHER to 888-777.