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PRESS RELEASE

State Agencies Remain on Alert and Continue to Monitor Weather in the Gulf

BATON ROUGE (July 24, 2010) - State agencies continue to monitor the tropical depression in the Gulf and are on alert should the storm strengthen as it moves towards Louisiana.

Director of the Governor's Office of Homeland Security Mark Cooper said, "Even though Bonnie is remaining a tropical depression, this is a reminder that families need to stay prepared and make sure they have their game plans ready. This is a good time to make sure you have supplies ready like non-perishable food and water. As we enter the height of hurricane season, I urge everyone to visit www.getagameplan.org to ensure their families are prepared should we face a strong storm."

STATE AGENCY PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND DEVELOPMENT (DOTD)

DOTD continues to stage assets, secure facilities, and place personnel on standby for work over the weekend. DOTD is monitoring tide levels throughout the New Orleans and Houma areas.

DOTD has extended the hours of our New Orleans regional traffic management center to 24-hour operation starting this morning, Saturday, July 24 through Monday, July 26. DOTD's Houma traffic management center has also moved to extended hours starting Saturday. Houma hours are 6 am - 6 pm, Saturday, July 24 - Monday, July 26.

The complete closure of the I-10 Mississippi River Bridge, originally scheduled for Sunday, July 25, has been canceled due to the threat of the tropical depression. This closure will be rescheduled and DOTD will give notice once that new date is confirmed.

DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES (DCFS)

DCFS continues to monitor any sheltering needs. Currently, there is one shelter set to open today. Specifically, Belle Chasse High School in Plaquemines Parish will open today.

DCFS's current shelter capacity is 13,770 - including state-run and non-state-run Critical Transportation Needs Shelters, Medical Special Needs and a sex offender shelter. Out of state shelter capacity is 29,000 and includes shelter space in Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Indiana, and Georgia.

DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES (LDWF)

The Fort Jackson bird rehabilitation center has been re-located in Hammond. Every agent in the state is on alert at this time to respond to any potential tropical storm.

LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS (LDVA)

Patient assessments at both the Southeast LA Veterans Home in Reserve and the Southwest LA Veterans Home in Jennings have been completed. In the event of an evacuation, space has already been identified at other homes.

Back-up generators are in place at all facilities and they are complete with adequate fuel supplies.

LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD (LANG)

The Louisiana National Guard's current oil spill response forces are positioned in coastal areas and are prepared to transition to emergency operations as weather conditions dictate.

As a precaution, LANG has staged supplies - including MREs, bottled water and cots - in Grand Isle in the event people attending Island Aid are unable to evacuate - which is not expected at this time.

OFFICE OF COASTAL PROTECTION AND RESTORATION (OCPR)

The Caernarvon freshwater diversion in St. Bernard Parish and the Davis Pond freshwater diversion in St. Charles Parish remain closed in accordance with operating procedures for tropical weather events. St. Bernard Parish officials have closed the Violet Siphon to reduce the amount of water entering the basin. Plaquemines Parish is monitoring the outflow areas for the Naomi, West Pointe-a-la-Hache and White's Ditch Siphons to determine if high water levels will require closing the siphons.

Officials with the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority - East (SLFPA-East) have reported that the control structure on Bayou Bienvenue will be kept open as long as possible to offer safe harbor to vessels seeking shelter from Tropical Depression Bonnie. Officials closed both the Bayou Bienvenue and Bayou Dupre flood gates on Friday, July 23 because of elevated water levels in the Lake Borgne area but have reopened the gate on Bayou Bienvenue to allow more vessels to seek safe harbor. Bayou Dupre will remain closed until the threat of Bonnie abates.

SLFPA-East officials are monitoring all flood gates along the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal (IHNC) to see if they need to be closed.

St. Charles EOC officials have reported that sand baskets and sand bags are being erected along Bayou Des Allemands as a precautionary measure to protect low lying areas outside the levee system.

The Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District (TLCD) reported Friday it expected to close the sector gates on Bayou Little Caillou and Bayou Terrebonne

DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS (DOC)

DOC offenders that were evacuated from Orleans Parish Prison remain housed at Angola.

LOUISIANA WORKFORCE COMMISSION (LWC)

LWC is temporarily pulling back mobile units. LWC also says they are prepared to provide 37,000 hot meals within eight hours should the need arise.

STAY INFORMED/BE PREPARED

Throughout this storm event, public information will be released through GOHSEP and the state Joint Information Center. Additionally, in the event of a major evacuation in the state, which is not expected at this time, the Louisiana Emergency Alert System will broadcast evacuation information on all participating radio/TV stations for affected areas. A list of hurricane supplies, evacuation information and other critical information can be found on the www.getagameplan.org website.

Preparedness kits include:

  • A three to five day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) and food that won't spoil
  • One change of clothing and footwear per person, and one blanket or sleeping bag per person
  • A first aid kit that includes prescription medications
  • Emergency tools including a battery-powered radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries
  • An extra set of car keys and a credit card, cash or traveler's checks
    Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members
  • And, important family documents in a waterproof container

 

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