Tuesday, August 28, 2012 – 6:00 a.m.
As of 4:00 a.m., significant changes have not occurred over night with Tropical Storm Isaac since the National Hurricane Center’s latest update. It appears to be a waiting period for Tropical Storm Isaac which is moving at 12 mph and beginning to produce winds in the St. John Parish area. Isaac is expected to become a Category 1 hurricane later today producing maximum sustained winds near 70 mph. Wind gusts are expected to reach 100 mph between Tuesday and Wednesday. This general motion is expected to continue for the next day or two with a decrease in forward speed.
The center of the storm should make landfall over the Louisiana coast Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.
Tropical storm force winds may occur for 20 to 24 hours in most locations, with a few locations up to 36 hours. Hurricane force winds are expected for 6 to 10 hours in areas within the direct path of the hurricane. Rainfall storm totals of 10 to 16 inches are anticipated with the heaviest rainfall occurring on the north and west sides of the system. Slow movement means a greater threat of heavy rain and a Flash Flood Watch remains in effect for the entire area.
Tide levels are expected to increase 5 to 8 feet with a storm surge of 5 to 8 feet expected for Lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas. No significant storm surge is expected for Lac Des Allemands. Dry air circulating on the Northern side of the storm created a positive change that could result in fewer thunderstorms. Residents should be prepared to tolerate unfavorable conditions such as power outages, high water, and possible downed trees and tree limbs following the storm. Generators should be used with care and placed in open areas; they should not be placed in enclosed areas.
All loose debris and trash should be removed to assist in preventing blockage in parish drainage systems. Public Works crews will continue to collect tree limbs this morning until wind levels exceed a level that is safe. The Parish incinerator will be open to receive vegetative debris “only” beginning at 7:00 a.m. this morning. Residents can drop off vegetative debris at the incinerator located at the end of Airport Road in Reserve. Once wind speeds reach 45 mph, residents are asked to stay off the roads.
Low-lying areas, including Woodland Dr., the rear of Cambridge Subdivision, Indigo Lakes, Spring Meadows, Ridgewood Subdivision, Foxwood Subdivision, the rear of River Forest, and areas north of Airline Highway in Reserve are advised to monitor rising water levels and make preparations to move their vehicles to higher ground. Residents in Foxwood Subdivision have received permission to park vehicles at the front of their subdivision in the Belle Terre Land parking lot. The St. John Parish Sheriff's Office has also offered to provide assistance to residents who need emergency access to homes located in high water areas. Barricades will be pre-positioned in low-lying areas this morning to provide a quicker response to road closures due to high water.
Currently, no roads are closed in St. John the Baptist Parish; however, Airline Highway is currently closed on each side at the St. Charles/Jefferson Parish line. Hwy 90 in St. Charles Parish is also closed in St. Charles Parish at the West bank Diversion. Residents can receive updated state road closure information at www.lsp.org. Power outages can be reported at 1-800-9OUTAGE and can be viewed at http://viewoutage.entergy.com/la.aspx.
There is still no plan for a mandatory evacuation. Residents are encouraged to finalize emergency plans and preparations to shelter at home. They may also choose to evacuate to areas to the north and west of the parish. All public, private, and parochial schools and the South Central Louisiana Technical College are closed until further notice. The St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools will provide more information regarding school closures Wednesday. Riverside Academy will be closed through Thursday.
All Parish Government Offices will be closed today. The St. John Parish Emergency Operations Center is open 24/7 accepting phone calls at 985-652-2222. Residents are asked to dial 9-1-1 for emergencies or critical information.
Garbage service will resume on Thursday with the Thursday route. Regular collection will be on Friday and Saturday. Tuesday and Wednesday garbage routes will be collected on the next scheduled pick-up day. Residents in River Forest, on Hwy 628/West 5th between Jouty Lane and Camphor Street will have their garbage picked up on the next scheduled date. The garbage company is committed to picking up garbage as quickly as possible once the storm moves through the area. Residents are asked to please pick up cans that are currently near the road!
Over 10,000 sandbags have been distributed throughout the parish and an additional 20,000 bags have been ordered for today. More sand will be delivered this morning at 9:00 a.m. to all sandbag locations listed below:
Fire Station #53 at 1703 St. Andrews Blvd., LaPlace
Fire Station #94 at 1200 Hwy. 643, Pleasure Bend
Fire Station #65 located at 337 Central Avenue, Reserve
Fire Station #71 at 418 Historic West St., Garyville
Old Second Ward High School at 3671 Hwy 18, Edgard
***Residents are asked to bring a shovel to fill their bags.***
Please stay tuned to local weather stations, St. John the Baptist Parish website at sjbparish.com, Government Access Channel 15, Facebook and twitter for updated information. Residents can also dial 2-1-1 for state emergency information.