Will there be any road closures in the parish due to the mandatory evacuation?
People will be able to move freely throughout St. Charles Parish today (8/27), and we do not anticipate closing any local roads except in the case of hazardous road conditions, such as downed power lines, downed trees and flooding.
Is the parish planning on turning off the water or sewage? I've heard both of these referred to on radio and TV.
The parish does not 'turn off' water and sewage, however, with loss of power and downed trees and power lines, both services could see outages.
With sewer services, more than 300 lift stations have to be pumped down continuously with generators. It is a slow process, and with power outages the parish will likely be asking residents to refrain from sewer usage as the system will be stressed.
With water, if there are enough uprooted trees, lines can be broken and the water quality and/or service itself can be compromised.
Why did the parish issue a mandatory evacuation?
A mandatory evacuation was issued due to a few important factors. The parish reached its trigger point on Sunday to not only publicize an evacuation for residents in general, but to also put into action its assisted evacuation plan, which is organized and staffed by parish employees and other agencies. The storm was predicted to come ashore as a strong Category 2, which has the potential to cause widespread storm surge flooding on the West Bank of the parish and the town of Montz. There is still a lot of uncertainty as to the storm track and intensity of Isaac, and there is a very real potential for widespread flooding from rainfall. In addition, parish services such as emergency medical, sewer and water service may be interrupted for an extended period of time; with a potential for up to 48 hours.
How likely is it that gas may be turned off?
Atmos Energy will not be shutting gas service off for the storm. Atmos asks that you report any suspected leaks to them at 1-888-286-6700. When evacuating please do NOT turn off your gas.
Are there any shelters on East Bank?
The parish will not open any shelters within the parish. Those wishing to shelter can use assisted evacuation by pre-registering with EOC at (985) 783-5050 by 3:30 p.m. Aug. 27.
Apart from 911, what direct phone numbers should we have in our cell phones to contact emergency services so people will know we're here and in trouble?
911 is the best number for all emergency services such as medical, fire and police.
Since hurricane protection does not protect Montz, is it possible that the Bonnet Carre Spillway would be opened on the lake side to reduce flooding?
The spillway is always open on the lake side. Because it is contained by guide levees its function does not have any bearing on storm surge or drainage of Montz.
If a tornado were to occur during the hurricane, will the sirens still sound since we have a mandatory evacuation in place?
Yes, the parish will make use of the sirens to warn those who may still be in the parish of a tornado warning. This occurred during Gustav and in all likelihood will occur with Isaac.
There is a lot of talk about the West Bank because they have no levees, and rightfully so, but should the East Bank be just as concerned about major flooding, or should we expect street flooding?
The East Bank of St. Charles Parish (except for Montz) is protected by a federal levee that is part of the Corps of Engineers Hurricane Storm Damage Risk Reduction System for Greater New Orleans. It was recently brought up to 100-year storm protection. The levee is now at 16.5 feet in height, which means storm surge through Lake Pontchartrain and the LaBranche Wetlands would have to get that high to overtop. The Pontchartrain Levee District, in conjunction with the parish, also just completed the massive Cross Bayou pumping station to help alleviate the drainage issues that come from rainfall inside the levee system. Because of that improvement, we will see drainage improvements in Destrehan and especially along Airline Highway where in the past water has stacked up near Ormond Boulevard. That being said, there is the need for at least one more additional pump station along the levee. With Isaac, the water threat on the East Bank is indeed the potential for rainfall flooding. You can get a good overview of the improvements to the levee here.