John Bel Edwards declares state of emergency over New Orleans flooding concerns
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency Thursday (Aug. 10) as a precautionary measure, in the event that the state has to help with flooding in New Orleans over the next few days.
"If we get the heavier expected rainfall, time will be of the essence," Edwards said at a press conference with Mayor Mitch Landrieu Thursday morning. "We are working well together. Obviously this is a serious situation, but it is not something to be panicked about."
The emergency declaration is retroactive. It runs from Aug. 5 -- when the first round of flooding started this past weekend -- to Sept. 3. The governor can terminate the order early if he wants.
Edwards and the state government are providing 14 2-megawatt generators to the city that will stay in New Orleans for the remainder of hurricane season. The Louisiana National Guard could also assist with flood respond if that becomes necessary. Landrieu has also declared a state of emergency in New Orleans, which allows city government to circumvent some regulations to respond more quickly to a disaster.
Early Thursday morning, Landrieu announced that the city lacks the backup power to run pumping stations west of the Industrial Canal that help prevent flooding on the east bank of New Orleans during rain events. The outage does not affect Lower 9th Ward, New Orleans East and Algiers, according to Landrieu.
Still, several parts of the city will be vulnerable to storms five days after widespread, damaging floods affected several neighborhoods. Many New Orleans residents are still recovering from that event that damaged vehicles, businesses and homes.
"We are currently running on our last backup power source," Landrieu said during the press conference. "If all the power from Entergy continues -- and we expect that it will -- we will be able to handle any typical rainfall."
Landrieu said he first called Edwards about the power outage at 1:30 a.m. Thursday morning. "Immediately, as he has always done, he pledged his continued and aggressive support," Landrieu said of Edwards.
The Sewerage and Water Board could restore power by the end of the day, the mayor said Thursday morning, but numerous showers and thunderstorms are expected Thursday afternoon.
( Source )