September 3, 2011 2:17:57 PM CDT
Tropical Storm Lee continues to cause intermittent problems for St. John the Baptist Parish as it moves closer to the shoreline. The parish remains under a tropical storm warning and a flash flood watch as bands of rain come and go throughout the area. A tornado watch is also in effect until 10:00 p.m.
Tropical Storm Lee is expected to maintain its strength through tonight with tides expected to reach 3 to 5 feet through Sunday. Wind speeds vary from 30-40 miles per hour, with wind gusts as high as 50 miles per hour. This unexpected consequence of the storm has resulted in downed power lines, trees and tree limbs causing sporadic power outages throughout the parish. Parish employees are working throughout the day and night to monitor lift stations, flooding, water levels, and pumping stations which may be impacted by power outages or overloads. Additionally, personnel have been called out to assess and monitor pumps at Homewood, LaPlace Park and Persimmon Street, which have traditionally been problem areas. Both water and waste water systems were impacted by power outages, but have been maintained with generator power. The waste water system remains strained, but is working in spite of excessive storm water entering the system.
Road closures are being addressed as the need arises. Peavine Rd., Frenier Rd., and Hwy 51 between LaPlace and Ruddock are closed due to high water. Other problem areas include Captain Bourgeois, Persimmon St., Homewood Dr., Carrollwood Dr. at Airline Hwy., and Star Terrace Blvd. Sandbags are available at three locations in the parish, Airport Rd. in Reserve, Old 2nd Ward High School, and the Pleasure Bend Fire Station.
"Residents are encouraged to pay close attention to the weather as the affects of Tropical Storm Lee can change very quickly. They should also have an emergency supply kit stocked with nonperishable food, water and flashlights to be prepared for the possibility of additional power outages,” said Parish President Robottom.
Residents are also asked to call 911 to report flooded areas, downed power lines, trees or any other problems. Council members Gauff, Julien and Hotard have been out and about throughout the day checking their districts and gathering information. All council members have been invited to attend a 5:00 weather update in the parish EOC. Residents should stay tuned to the new centralized Emergency Alert System at www.sjbparish.com, the Government Access Channel 15, and local news and weather stations.