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PRESS RELEASE

RAIN, WIND ARE MAJOR CONCERNS AS TROPICAL STORM LEE BEARS DOWN

ST. CHARLES PARISH (September 2, 2011) - Tropical Storm-force winds will reach St. Charles Parish as early as 9 p.m. tonight, according to forecasts. NOW is the time for residents to make preparations, if they haven't already.

St. Charles Parish continues to urge its residents to monitor weather reports and prepare for 10 to 15 inches of rainfall through Tuesday; and up to 20 inches in isolated areas. Parish President V.J. St. Pierre Jr. declared a state of emergency this morning.

Sustained winds have increased to near 45 mph with higher gusts, and gradual strengthening is expected over the next 48 hours, along with a possibility of tornadoes, tropical funnel clouds and water spouts. Tides are expected to be at least 2 to 4 feet higher than normal. Lee remains a slow-moving storm with a forward motion due north of just 2 mph.

Residents are asked to help clear drains and ditches around their homes and report any debris piles or blocked culverts to EOC (985) 783-5050. Residents should also take in garbage cans and other items yard items that could get blow around. Personnel today rode every street in the parish, identifying and fixing potential drainage issues.

"We know that Tropical Storm Lee will be a marathon, not a sprint," EOC Director Scott Whelchel said. "We want to stress that even with the distractions of this Labor Day weekend, people need to pay very close attention to the weather and, most importantly, flood and tornado threats."

Residents should also have an emergency supply kit stocked with nonperishable food, water and flashlights to be prepared for the possibility of power outages.

Sand and sandbags are available at over 30 locations around the parish. A list may be found at www.stcharlesparish-la.gov/hurricane. Residents should bring their own shovel to fill bags. Please keep in mind that those living in low-lying areas that have flooded before are most vulnerable to repeat flooding.

Parish drainage and wastewater crews have been placed on emergency shifts and will monitor pump station operations continuously throughout Tropical Storm Lee. All pumps have been inspected and are operational.

Residents are asked to report flooded areas and downed power lines or trees to the St. Charles Parish Emergency Operations Center at (985) 783-5050. It is ILLEGAL to drive through flooded streets at a high rate of speed, which could possibly send flood waters into homes. It is also illegal for anyone other than residents to drive onto barricaded streets.

Please report power outages to Entergy at 1-800-ENTERGY.

The parish remains under a flash flood watch through Sunday evening and a tropical storm warning until Saturday at 5:15 p.m.

Stay tuned to local media, Cox Cable Channel 6 in St. Charles Parish, stcharlesparish-la.gov, 1-888-SCP-9EOC or 1370 AM for further announcements. Any questions may be directed to the St. Charles Parish Emergency Operations Center at (985) 783-5050 24 hours a day.

For more information about storm readiness, visit www.getagameplan.org or www.stcharlesparish-la.gov/hurricane. The St. Charles Parish Public Information Office is posting photos, video and other updates to its Emergency Blog at stcharlesgov.blogspot.com.

The mission of St. Charles Parish government is to provide high quality, efficient services to sustain and enhance the quality of life for all residents of St. Charles Parish.


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