Governor Bobby Jindal held a Unified Command Group meeting Thursday to discuss flooding response efforts in Northwest Louisiana with state emergency officials. The Governor also released an update on state emergency response activities in affected parishes.
The Governor also announced that he is traveling to both Caddo and Bossier parishes Friday, June 5, to meet with local officials, survey response efforts and ensure that local officials have what they need to help combat the flood waters and protect communities.
Currently, officials expect the Red River to crest at 35.5 feet on Saturday evening in Shreveport, which is the highest level in 70 years. Governor Jindal is urging local officials and charging state agencies to take immediate steps to combat flood waters and to protect homes and important infrastructure.
Governor Jindal said, “All state agencies are working around the clock to ensure parishes affected by these flood waters have what they need. The state has deployed more than 255,000 sandbags to areas prone to flood waters, and we have approximately 650,000 more sandbags on standby.
“It is important to note that although this flooding is expected to recede after cresting occurs, water will recede slower than normal due to system inundation as a result of flooding and heavy rain events in Oklahoma and Texas. This means families must hope for the best while preparing for the worst – and we’re urging all of our people to plan for a long-term emergency and keep supplies on hand to last them until water recedes. We also encourage people in these areas to ensure they have a plan in place to keep their family safe, and to listen to their local radio and television reports for parish updates.”
CURRENT STATE ACTIONS ORDERED BY THE GOVERNOR:
• GOHSEP has activated their Crisis Action Team and have deployed staff to the area.
• GOHSEP is coordinating the distribution of sandbags with Louisiana National Guard staff (full distribution numbers are included below).
• GOHSEP Regional Coordinators are currently monitoring the situation in real time and maintaining communications with the Parish EOC.
• GOHSEP Director Kevin Davis and Deputy Director Christopher Guilbeaux were on the ground in the area today to assess flooding and assist parish leaders.
LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD (LANG)
• The LANG has deployed 255,000 sandbags from state warehouses to support parish flood fighting preparations:
o 100K to Bossier Parish
o 85K to Caddo Parish
o 10K to Vernon Parish
o 20K to Natchitoches Parish
o 30K to Rapides Parish
o 10K to Grant Parish
• More than 650,000 sandbags are on reserve and ready to be deployed from state warehouses.
• The LANG has approximately 20 high water vehicles and 13 boats positioned in the vicinity of Caddo and Bossier Parishes that can quickly respond for integrated search and rescue missions. The Guard has additional vehicles and boats located at Camp Beauregard and south Louisiana that could be repositioned for emergencies.
• The Guard has approximately 2,800 Guardsmen located at Fort Polk, Camp Beauregard, and Camp Minden conducting their Annual Training that could be called upon to quickly respond in an emergency. Additionally, 1,200 Guardsmen begin their Annual Training this weekend as well who can respond.
• The LANG also mobilized 200,000 bottles of water in case additional drinking water is necessary.
• The LANG is manning its Joint Operations Center (JOC) 24/7 at Camp Beauregard (using full-time manning), and the Tactical Awareness Center (TAC) at GOHSEP will be operational over the weekend.
• Louisiana National Guard units will continue to prepare emergency response equipment to provide support.
LOUISIANA STATE POLICE
• Troop operations are in communication with state, parish, and local law enforcement partners and DOTD.
• 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.
• LSP Region 3 Riverboat Gaming: Affected casinos have or are in the process of making adjustments to access ramps and mooring. If the river level gets to 34-35 feet some may have to close.
• Troop G supervision have made all personnel aware of the imminent threat and the potential they may be called upon to work hours in addition to their regular shifts.
• State Police Air Support has provided flights for Natchitoches Parish officials, Bossier Parish officials, and the LSP Gaming Division.
• Louisiana State police Gaming Division is monitoring and updating the State on the Shreveport/Bossier City casinos affected by high water levels associated with the Red River.
• DOTD is currently staging barricades/road closure/high water signs in anticipated flood areas. Staff is also setting up high water advisory signs and barricading/closing roadways when appropriate.
• DOTD is also surveying water levels in anticipated problem areas multiple times a day.
• Road closures include portions of La. 3049 in Caddo Parish, La. 537 in Bossier Parish and La. 120 and La. 478 in Natchitoches Parish.
• Work has been performed in conjunction with the city on the west end of the Jimmie Davis Bridge along La. 511 in Caddo Parish to prevent backwater from flowing through culverts into protected areas.
• The Corps of Engineers will be doing daily levee inspections on all federal levees beginning Wednesday, June 3rd in all of the levee districts along the Red River. DOTD will begin inspections on non-federal levees in Natchitoches and Red River Basin this week and may assist on federal levees as well.
• DOTD officials are working with other response agencies in affected parishes such as Homeland Security, Sheriff’s Office, Levee Boards, Police Juries, and State Police.
• DOTD is also working with parishes to help clear washed out roads.
• Hospitals, medical facilities and nursing homes in flood prone areas have been notified to put emergency flood procedures in place. Each of these facilities has resources available for emergencies.
• DHH officials are working to ensure transportation is available for evacuation of all patients at these facilities, should it be necessary. Those who are able to be discharged to families or loved ones will be permitted to do so in the event of an emergency.
• DHH is monitoring water quality and will advise affected areas of a boil advisory if necessary.
LA Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
• Office of Wildlife: Monitoring Red River flood waters to determine impacts on State Wildlife Management Areas and if any closures may be necessary. No State WMAs are closed at this time.
• Office of Fisheries: Also monitoring Red River high water levels. The drawdown on Iatt Lake has been delayed due to Red River flooding.
• Enforcement Division: Monitoring the flooding situation and on standby should any local authorities need assistance with evacuating citizens from flooded areas.
• Office of Conservation sent special notice alert to area list of oil and gas operations.
• DNR and OC posted notice of flood levels to operators.
DCFS/ American Red Cross:
• The Red Cross has two shelters open in Northwest Louisiana, with only one resident – Elm Grove Elementary in Elm Grove and Southern University Gym in Shreveport.
• A third shelter in the area is on standby if necessary.