Parish expects to cease assisted evacuation Sunday
For immediate release 6:45 p.m. • Aug. 30, 2008
HAHNVILLE – St. Charles Parish is now under a hurricane watch due to the threat from Hurricane Gustav, now an extremely dangerous and deadly Category 4 storm.
EOC Director Tab Troxler said Saturday Gustav is the most serious storm threat he has faced in the 18 years he has been on the job.
A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions pose a threat to a specified coastal area within 36 hours. St. Charles is a coastal parish. Tropical storm force winds should reach the coast early Monday morning, with a possible rise in tide levels as early as tomorrow evening.
Parish President V.J. St. Pierre Jr. issued a mandatory evacuation for St. Charles Parish at noon today (SATURDAY). Now is the time to leave if you have not yet done so. State Police to say contraflow will begin at 4 a.m. Sunday morning. Parish officials STRONGLY ADVISE residents to leave the parish before that time.
Officials are urging residents to leave the parish, as there will be no guarantee of emergency services in Hurricane Gustav’s aftermath. Subsequently, the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s office will implement a curfew nightly from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Anyone found on the streets who are neither emergency workers nor persons attempting to evacuate are subject to being detained and/or arrested. This curfew will be in effect until further notice.
The parish expects to complete its assisted evacuation efforts Sunday. If you are in need of transportation assistance, please contact EOC at (985) 783-5050 IMMEDIATELY. St. Charles Parish has already moved 1,165 residents and 13 pets to out-of-parish shelters.
The current track presents storm surge implications for the entire parish. Because of Gustav’s likely angle of approach, storm surges will be pushed up into the Barataria Basin and into the unprotected West Bank of St. Charles Parish. Storm surge is of particular concern within the Sunset Drainage District in Des Allemands. East Bank hurricane protection levees could possibly be overtopped due to wind-driven storm surge in Lake Pontchartrain.
Storm surge modeling shows possible surges of 9 feet in Bayou Gauche and 12 feet in Luling’s Willowdale subdivision. Storm surges are projected at 12 to 13 feet on the East Bank, testing the muster of the hurricane protection levee there.
All protective actions are being taken in accordance with the timeline set by the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. EOC is fully staffed and prepared to handle incoming phone calls. All parish pump stations are fueled, operational and connected to a telemetry system located within EOC. A small group of pump station operators are staying in the parish throughout Gustav. Parish officials are in contact with the National Guard and FEMA in the event the parish will need to initiate post-storm search and rescue operations.
Contraflow should begin as early as 6 a.m. SUNDAY, according to State Police. At that time you will only be able to get as far as Gramercy on I-10 heading back into St. Charles Parish. I-310 will only be open between the Luling Bridge and Airline Highway. You will NOT be able to get on I-10 from I-310. To view an evacuation map with recommended routes, visit www.stcharlesgov.net/hurricane.
St. Charles Parish Waterworks strongly urges those evacuating their homes or trailers to turn off their water at the meter.
Sheriff’s deputies will closely patrol residential neighborhoods to guard against looting. The sale of alcoholic beverages will cease at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Garbage pickup has been suspended. Please secure your garbage can and any debris.
The St. Charles Parish Animal Shelter is now closed indefinitely. Please call EOC at (985) 783-5050 for any animal-related emergencies.
St. Charles Parish Public Schools will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Parents will be contacted by the school system regarding further closings. Boutte Christian Academy is also closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Residents should bring their own shovels for sandbags, which are available at 37 locations around the parish. For a complete list of locations, visit www.stcharlesgov.net/hurricane.
St. Charles Parish residents are urged to stay tuned to Cable Channel 6, www.stcharlesgov.net and 1370 AM for additional updates.
Beginning this afternoon, St. Charles Parish Public Information Officer Renee C. Allemand will offer continual, up-to-the-minute updates from the parish courthouse throughout the storm via Web log at stcharlesgov.blogspot.com. Residents are invited to log on to comment on any of the topics that will be presented, which include traffic information, school closings, possible damage reports and storm forecasts.
Also, WWL-870 AM is imbedding a tie-line within St. Charles Parish EOC. Residents may tune into that station to get updates directly from the parish during the storm event.