Jindal issues emergency declaration ahead of Red River flood

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Today, Governor Bobby Jindal called a Unified Command Group (UCG) meeting of state emergency response officials to prepare for flooding in Northwest Louisiana.

Meteorologists believe flooding will occur because the Red River is expected to crest in Shreveport on Saturday June 6th due to large amounts of precipitation in the region. Flash flooding is expected due to the rain, and the rising river will likely cause instances of nuisance flooding.Seal_of_Louisiana_large

The event will continue down the river – cresting first in Coushatta and then in Alexandria the following week. This flooding will be comparable to the flooding last seen in the area 25 years ago in 1990.

As a result of these conditions, Governor Jindal issued an emergency declaration and ordered GOHSEP to send 25,000 sand bags to help protect Bossier Parish from high water. The Governor also ordered other state agencies to mobilize resources and remain on standby for emergency response efforts.

The Bossier Sherriff’s Office will be staging shallow water rescue boat equipment in areas around the parish. The Red Cross and Salvation Army have been briefed and are standing by for possible shelter operations.
Sandbags from the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness have been made available at three locations for any parish resident who would like them.

Governor Jindal said, “The National Weather Service continues to predict high levels of water in Northwest Louisiana, so it is important that our people get a game plan to protect their families in the event of a flooding emergency. We are encouraging everyone to ensure they have an evacuation plan in place, as well as emergency supplies like water and prescription medication. We are urging Louisianians to stay alert and monitor local weather conditions in their area. As with every flooding situation, we always hope for the best yet prepare for the worst.

“State and local officials are working to protect our people and property from these high water conditions. GOHSEP sent 25,000 sand bags to help protect Bossier Parish, and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is on standby for any search and rescue operations that may be needed. We will continue monitoring water levels closely and are keeping in close contact with parish leaders and emergency officials on the ground to ensure they have the resources they need to protect their communities.”

These response efforts are necessary because Northwest Louisiana, currently and namely Bossier Parish, is threatened with an emergency situation due to the effects of the past and recent amounts of precipitation in and outside of the region, thus creating wet and saturated ground conditions, as well as high water levels in tributaries, bayous, area lakes, and the Red River.

These factors, along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Weather Service in Shreveport predictions for the Red River to exceed its flood stage of 30 feet to a level of 33 feet in their area on or about June 6th, 2015, will bring elevated amounts of water to the area.

Because rivers, bayous, and tributaries are already full, and with the Red River predicted to rise, a flooding situation is likely to occur.

Power outages are expected near the Red River and the Public Service Commission is working with electricity companies in the area who are communicating with those affected.

As a result of these conditions, Governor Jindal ordered the following actions:

Governor’s Office
• Issued an emergency declaration on May 29th, 2015 and called a meeting of the Unified Command Group to mobilize resources and state agencies ahead of the emergency.

GOHSEP
• Activated Crisis Action Team (CAT) to monitor and respond to situation.
• Provided 25,000 sandbags to Bossier Parish in order to help protect from high waters.

Wildlife & Fisheries
• Standing by with high water vehicles and shallow water boats for possible search & rescue mission requests from Bossier and/or other impacted parishes.
Louisiana State Police
• Troop operations are in communication with state, parish, and local law enforcement partners and DOTD to ensure situational awareness, timely sharing of information, and readiness of resources.
• Air Support has aircraft on standby for assessment of waterways and highways.
• The Gaming Enforcement Section is engaged with the riverboat properties in the affected areas to ensure the safety and security of the patrons and employees.

DOTD
• Monitoring conditions on U.S. 71 and U.S. 84 and will alert motorists of any high water.
• Crews will be available should assistance be needed on these roadways.