Thursday, June 1, 2017
St. John the Baptist Parish - Parish President Natalie Robottom urges residents to prepare for Hurricane Season, which begins June 1.
Today, Parish President Robottom joined Governor John Bel Edwards, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Colonel Michael Clancy, Meteorologist Ken Graham of the National Weather Service and a number of other parish leaders and government officials to discuss hurricane preparedness at the Port of New Orleans.
Parish Hurricane Preparedness meetings, which are open to the public will be held on Tuesday, June 20 at 6 p.m. at the Edgard Courthouse and Wednesday, June 21 at 6 p.m. at REGALA Gym, in Reserve. Parish officials and the National Weather Service Meteorologist Ken Graham will share information on upcoming Hurricane Season forecasts, preparations and new surge watches and warnings.
Residents are strongly encouraged to finalize preparations for their families and businesses. This includes completing family/business plans, checking disaster supply kits, replacing old batteries, and identifying the best evacuation destination and route for family members. Residents should review the parish's Hurricane Season brochure or visit the parish website at sjbparish.com or www.getagameplan.org for more hurricane preparedness information. Items such as battery-powered flashlights, extra batteries, medications, water, non-perishable foods, hand-operated can openers, utility knives, first aid supplies, radios and waterproof bags for important documents should be readily accessible.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued a more active forecast for this hurricane season with a likelihood of 11 to 17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), including 3 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). Hurricanes can cause strong winds, heavy rain, and flooding. These storms occur most often in the summer and fall during the Atlantic Hurricane Season and have wide-ranging and severe effects, especially if large amounts of rainfall occur in short periods of time or storm surge is experienced.
“Know your evacuation route, assemble a disaster kit, and review your homeowners or renters insurance ahead of time,” said President Robottom. “If there is a hurricane in the forecast, listen to emergency officials and keep lines of communication open with friends, family, and neighbors.
Prepositioned contracts and agreements for transportation, sheltering, pets, generators, disaster recovery, and a last resort shelter are in place as staff continues to review emergency plans and procedures. The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and Communications staff have attended numerous trainings with GOHSEP, the National Weather Service, the National Hurricane Center and neighboring parishes in preparation for this hurricane season.
Additionally, President Robottom and the Parish Council are moving forward with constructing projects to improve drainage and utility infrastructure. In an effort to reduce wastewater overflows due to lift station failures, telemetry - automatic controls, water level indicators, alarms and shut down features - were installed in 50 lift stations throughout the East and West Banks of the parish.
Other Utilities improvements completed for resiliency purposes include installation of submersible pumps at lift stations, permanent generators at wastewater treatment plants, a waterline connection to St. Charles Parish, a waterline connecting the Lions and Edgard Water Plants and a Wastewater rehabilitation project to reduce inflow and infiltration into the wastewater collection system. Back-up systems are in place for pump stations, new generators were added, and several drainage projects are underway while others are in the design phase.
Residents are encouraged to sign up to receive personalized messages to their phones and email addresses by visiting sjbparish.com and clicking “Stay Connected”. Weather warnings are automatically sent based on notifications from the National Weather Service. During an emergency, notifications and updates will also be shared on the parish website, Facebook, twitter and SJTV. This is the parish’s official means of communicating during emergencies. Residents with medical disabilities or special needs should call the Health and Human Services Department at 985-652-9569 to register in advance for evacuation plans.
Public Safety and Communications staff are available to conduct Hurricane Preparedness presentations for the public at town hall and neighborhood association meetings by request. Please call 652-2222 to schedule a presentation.