Jindal Holds Unified Command Group Meeting on Flooding of Mississippi and Red Rivers

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Governor Bobby Jindal held a Unified Command Group meeting with state agency leaders and state emergency response officials to discuss response efforts to imminent flooding of the Mississippi River and the Red River. 

Also present in the meeting was Governor-elect John Bel Edwards in order to ensure that the incoming administration is fully up-to-date in the event of future flooding conditions after January 11, 2016.

Due to heavy rainfall amounts over the past 30 days, there is concern regarding rising water levels for the Mississippi and Red Rivers. During the UCG meeting, Governor Jindal discussed preparation efforts with cabinet officials and emergency response personnel and stressed the need for Louisianians to get a game plan for their families as water levels continue to rise. Earlier today, Governor Jindal also issued an emergency declaration due to the imminent threat of flooding and ordered state agencies to mobilize resources and remain on standby for emergency response efforts.

Governor Jindal said, “We continue to monitor the potential for flooding conditions across the state, specifically in communities near the Red River and Mississippi River. Particularly along the Mississippi River, there is the potential in the next several weeks for flooding conditions similar to the floods of 2011, so we are taking this situation very seriously.

“State emergency response officials are in close communication with local leaders to ensure they have the resources necessary to protect our communities. We urge Louisianians to stay alert regarding local weather and flooding conditions in their area and to have an emergency plan in place.”

Red River Levels:

Red River at Shreveport is currently at 29.15 feet (Action Stage) and is forecasted to crest at 31.50 feet (Moderate Flood Stage) on January 2nd, 2016.

Red River at Coushatta is currently at 29.88 feet (Below Flood Stage) and is forecasted to crest at 33.0 feet (Minor Flood Stage) on January 3rd , 2016.

Red River at Grand Ecore is currently at 31.00 feet (Below Flood Stage) and forecasted to crest at 34.50 feet (Minor Flood Stage) on January 4th, 2016.

Red River at Alexandria is currently 26.60 feet (Below Flood Stage) and forecasted to crest at 30.50 feet (Action Stage) on January 5th, 2016.

Mississippi River Levels:

Mississippi River at Red River Landing is currently at 48.13 feet (Minor Flood Stage) and is forecasted to crest at 62.5 feet (Moderate Flood Stage) on January 19th,  2016.

Mississippi River at Baton Rouge is currently at 31.85 feet (Action Stage) and forecasted to crest at 44.0 feet (Moderate Flood Stage) on January 19th, 2016.

Mississippi River at New Orleans is currently 12.49 feet (Below Flood Stage) and forecasted to crest at 17.0 feet (Minor Flood Stage) on January 9th, 2016.

CURRENT STATE ACTIONS AND RESPONSES:

GOHSEP

o GOHSEP is monitoring the situation and has activated their Crisis Action Team.
o GOHSEP hosted a conference call with the Army Corps of Engineers and Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center on 28 December 2015 at 2:00 PM to inform Red River parishes and select state agencies on their expectations this week.
o GOHSEP hosted a conference call with the Army Corps of Engineers and Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center on 28 December 2015 at 3:00 PM to inform Mississippi River parishes and select state agencies on their expectations this week.
o GOHSEP will be monitoring WebEOC for mission or asset requests.
o GOHSEP Regional Coordinators are currently monitoring the situation and maintaining communications with the EOC.
o GOHSEP hosted a Unified Command Group Meeting on December 30, 2015.

LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD

o LANG is closely monitoring the situation and stands ready to support citizens and local and state authorities in support of any emergency at the direction of the governor.
o Louisiana’s Guardsmen are trained, ready and equipped to stand up at any moment to protect lives and property, maintain communications, and ensure the continuity of operations and government.

ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS

o Phase 1 activated on lower Mississippi River on 14 December 2015
o Coordinating efforts with local authorities and patrolling the levee system twice a week.
o Currently tracking 47 inspection sites.  Deficiencies include:  broken slope pavement, animal burrows, erosion, and shrinkage cracks.  We are continuing to monitor 5 potential seepage areas, and an area of slides just south of Algiers Lock.
o EOC open 7 days a week from 0700 to 1730.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY

o LDAF is monitoring the situation and personnel are in contact with farmers in potential flood zones to provide situational awareness.
o LDAF issued alert to livestock producers in potential flood areas to be prepared to move animals. Livestock Brand Officers contacting producers and local OEP offices.

DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES

o LDWF Enforcement is aware of possible flooding events and is monitoring the situation for potential search and rescue efforts in the event of major flooding on both the Red River and Mississippi River.
o Enforcement Captains across the state are maintaining communications with impacted parishes and will make necessary preparations to provide assistance if needed.
o Due to flooding conditions of the Mississippi River, the LDWF Secretary has authorized a “Partial Deer Hunting Season Closure” beginning January 3rd 2016 at official sunset until the situation warrants reopening for the following area: East of US 65 from the Arkansas State line to Vidalia, Louisiana. (Emergency Declaration and map can be found in WebEOC)

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND DEVELOPMENT

o DOTD is in communication with all districts in the potential impact zones and will continue to closely monitor the situation and remain on standby as needed for any tasks assigned to the agency.
o Coordinating with other agencies, vendors, and GOHSEP, and Future Plans Team has been activated.
o District Officers are coordinating with local and parish officials, staging resources, assisting and supporting levee inspections along with communicating with the local levee boards, and inspecting/monitoring all levee gaps and potential road flooding locations.
o In the Lafayette area, DOTD is monitoring roads along coast, Rest Area at the Atchafalaya Basin will close gaps in levee is the Morganza Spillway is opened, and we are identifying areas possibly in need of additional resources to plug gaps in the levee.
o In the Caddo/Bossier area, closure equipment and signage has been pre-staged for anticipated closures.
o In the Alexandria area, DOTD has made contact with local levee boards, participated in conference calls with NWS, LMRFC and GOIHSEP and are identifying and contacting local vendors for flume sand.
o In the Capital region, preparing to support Angola Prison with sand haul, monitoring catch basin near Belle of Baton Rouge sand bags, and prep for message boards and signage for state routes if Morganza Spillway is opened.
o In Monroe area, DOTD is coordinating with the levee board on levee slides.
o In Chase area, DOTD is responding to a potential HESCO basket mission.
o In Vidalia, DOTD is deploying nearly 5.7 miles of HESCO baskets.
o Statewide inventory of over 27,000 linear feet of HESCO baskets are available through DOTD.
o Resource quantities have been updated in WebEOC.

LOUISIANA STATE POLICE

o State Police EOC personnel are monitoring the threat, are engaged with other public safety partners, and will be monitoring WebEOC for mission or asset requests.
o 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 as well as all casinos located on the Mississippi River affected by high water.

DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

o LDEQ is aware of potential flooding on both the Red River and Mississippi River and will continue to monitor the situation and remain on standby if needed for any tasks assigned to the agency.
o Headquarters staff will coordinate with regional offices for possible response efforts concerning orphan containers, spills, sheens, or releases.

DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

o DNR is in constant communication with emergency personnel and has issued notices to oil and gas operations to secure operations.
o Public fuel supply team has been put on notice and the Coastal managament group is also on standby.

STATE FIRE MARSHAL

o State Fire Marshall is monitoring and updating the State on the Shreveport/Bossier City casinos affected by high water levels associated with the Red River as well as all casinos located on the Mississippi River affected by high water.
o Attended a phone conference with Lt. Ingram of LSP Gaming, ABS, and the Louisiana Gaming Control Board in reference to the casinos.

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HOSPITALS

o The Office of Public Health Drinking Water section continues to monitor water systems in the at risk areas.
o All critical healthcare facilities have been notified to report any power outages and/or flooding incidents to ESF 8 and their local OEP.
o DHH continues to monitor all medical facilities of threats to power outages and/or flooding incidents.
o Targeted monitoring of approximately 100 medical facilities is actively occurring.
o Environmental Health Services has reached out to all Red River Water Systems and the at risk water systems along the Mississippi River.

DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES

o DCFS-EP is in contact with stakeholders and is monitoring WebEOC and the flooding incidents.
o Emergency center staff is on standby and regional coordinators are on alert.

PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION

o PSC is aware of both events and is monitoring the situation.

COASTAL PROTECTION AND RESTORATION AUTHORITY

o CPRA is coordinating with local, state and federal entities while maintaining communications with the USACE and levee districts for the latest forecasts.

DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

o Louisiana State Penitentiary staff and offenders have been working to secure a small portion of the levee around Angola that was damaged earlier in the year as a result of high water.  The slide area is being supported with visqueen and sandbags.  The project is scheduled to be completed today.
o Two Sandbag machines were moved from Elayn Hunt Correctional Center to Louisiana State Penitentiary to assist with future needs.
o The Department is reviewing contingency plans for evacuation of offenders from Louisiana State Penitentiary.  Based on current projections, DOC does not anticipate having to move offenders but is reviewing plans and triggers in the 2011 flooding situation to respond appropriately if necessary.
o DOC is working cooperatively with GOHSEP, the Army Corps of Engineers and the West Feliciana Sheriff’s Department.

AMERICAN RED CROSS

o Working and providing DCFS (ESF-6) with 2011 MS River flooding Red Cross shelter locations and capacity.
o Red Cross Southeast and Caribbean Division held a river flood planning conference call today at 11:30 a.m. to begin preparedness activities for the anticipated potential river flooding.

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