Col. Ed Fleming said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will open the first bay of Morganza Spillway in Louisiana.
The decision is being made to lower cresting levels along Mississippi River and to divert water from major cities such as Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
The opening of the spillway will flood parts of low-lying south-central Louisiana. The spillway has not been opened in 38 years.
The flood will take three days to reach Morgan City
-State agencies continue to respond to and prepare for flooding in Louisiana, particularly as the Corps of Engineers opens the Morganza Spillway on Saturday. Updates on agency activities are below.
Today, Louisiana Guardsmen are embedding their Aviation Search and Rescue liaison team with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries mobile command center near the Morganza Spillway. This partnership will allow Guard Aviation Team to work closely and timely with Wildlife and Fisheries. Guard aviation, high water vehicles, and boat rescue assets are prepared and ready to support search and rescue.
Guardsmen are assisting in traffic control points at the Morganza Spillway structure. Ten State Troopers will also be assigned to patrol the Morganza Spillway and affected areas. LSP Air Support continued over-flights of levee systems surveying levee structures and adjacent roadways. LDWF deployed their mobile command unit (MCU) to the Morganza locks and have added more agents to patrol the spillway. LDWF will relocate the MCU near Krotz Springs once the locks are open and begin a 24-hour operation from Morganza south to Morgan City.
Louisiana's Department of Transportation and Development has 222 staff members and 157 trucks and equipment actively deployed in flood prevention efforts. To date, DOTD has delivered 57,406 sandbags and provided 28,550 linear feet of HESCO baskets across the state in support of its flood protection efforts.
FLOOD FIGHTING EFFORTS
St. Landry Parish: Yesterday in Krotz Springs, Guardsmen assisted Parish and DOTD in preparing the improved levee addition by leveling and grading an additional 2,100 Linear Feet of base in preparation of HESCO and Super Sand Bag installation. Total base preparation is now at approximately 5,000 LF. Today, Guardsmen will begin installation of HESCO barriers and Super Sand Bags on this project. (Total project is approximately 10,000 LF)
RIBS are quick assemble, heavy-duty triangular sand bags. In addition to the RIBS, DOTD is using 75 trucks to haul approximately 3,278 cubic yards of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) to build a base. The RIBS along with 2,100 linear feet of HESCO baskets will be placed on top of the newly-laid RAP base to construct a barrier wall to protect residents and businesses from flood waters.
St. Mary Parish: In support of St. Mary Parish, the Louisiana National Guard continues construction of approximately 18,000 feet of HESCO barrier in order to fortify and elevate levees along Lake Palourde to prevent backwater flooding in Morgan City and Amelia. Today, Guard team leaders are working closely with the HESCO technical representatives to inspect HESCO barriers and fortify any areas that need additional support. The National Guard will continue improving and working 24 hour operations in this parish.
Morgan City worksite: National Guard crews stretched and filled over 7,400 LF of HESCO barrier to date and will complete the remaining portion today. (Total Project was adjusted down to approximately 8,000 feet due to parish sandbagging efforts).
Amelia worksite: As of this morning, Guard crews placed 2,940LF of HESCO barrier. (Total Project is 10,000 feet, which was adjusted up from 9,000). Today, the LANG continues the construction and installation of this protection.
Siracusaville worksite: Yesterday, the Louisiana National Guard received a warning order to install an additional 5,000 LF of HESCO barrier to support parish flood fighting efforts. Today, unit leadership will meet with parish officials to identify exact locations for installation.
St. Martin Parish: DOTD supplied 300 linear feet of HESCO baskets to assist in St. Martin Parish's flood prevention efforts. DOTD is now working around the clock efforts in support of the construction of a flood protection wall for the town of Amelia in St. Mary Parish. DOTD hauled 1,692 cubic yards of sand and 2,080 cubic yards of dirt to support LANG operations. Additionally, DOTD provided 4,000 linear feet of HESCO baskets, deployed 20 trucks to haul material to the site and three dozers to assist the parish in raising existing levees to an appropriate flood protection height.
East Baton Rouge Parish: DOTD completed the construction of a 1,000 linear foot HESCO basket flood barrier and placed 34 supersacks to keep water from flowing into the U.S. 190 pump station.
Avoyelles Parish: DOTD completed it reinforcement efforts at the Hamburg Big Bend levee along La. 451. DOTD hauled a total of 6,850 cubic yards of fill material and 360 cubic yards of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) to complete this flood protection effort. The fill material was used by the Red River, Atchafalaya, and Bayou Boeuf levee districts to build up the elevation of the levee specifically in locations where a roadway over the levee top reduced the levee's original crown elevation.
Assumption Parish: DOTD completed approximately half of the flood protection barrier needed along La. 663 in Assumption Parish. DOTD delivered 124 cubic yards of sand yesterday and began construction of a flood protection barrier.. DOTD completed more than half the needed project by installing 400 linear feet of HESCO baskets. To date, DOTD has delivered a total of 160 cubic yards of sand and 750 linear feet of HESCO baskets which will be utilized to complete the barrier ensuring flood waters do not inundate La. 663 or nearby neighborhoods.
National Guard teams completed assessments of the project areas in Pierre Part and Bayou L'ourse in conjunction with parish officials. The Guard constructed over 2,100 feet of Tiger Dam. Today, Guard teams will continue operations of Tiger Dam installation (Total project is 8,500 LF).
In support of Parishes in Northeast Louisiana: Guardsmen continue to support Parishes and the 5th Levee District's efforts to monitor levees, distribute equipment and supplies, and to fortify levees in East Carroll, Madison, Tensas, and Concordia Parishes. Guardsmen are also assessing areas in LaSalle, Catahoula, and Avoyelles Parishes in preparation for potential backwater flooding. Yesterday, Guardsmen assisted in the identification of eight new Sand or Pin Boils in Northeast Louisiana, three in East Carroll and five in Concordia. Guardsmen have now located and flagged 91 Sand or Pin Boils to date.
The Louisiana National Guard has approximately 700 Guardsmen mobilized for this event. Currently, the LANG has deployed National Guard liaison teams to 19 affected parishes in order to coordinate National Guard support to Parish efforts.
The David Wade Correctional Center completed preparations for 160 shelter beds for evacuated sex offenders on Friday.
The Louisiana Department of Corrections is providing offender work crews to support local sandbagging operations at the following locations:
- Forty (40) IMPACT (supervised) offenders are working a detail in Ascension Parish (Donaldsonville)
- Two (2) officers and 12 offenders from Elayn Hunt Correctional Center are working at the Iberville Parish Barn filling sandbags Saturday and Sunday
- Five (5) 10-man offender crews (and officers) from Dixon Correctional Institute are working in East Baton Rouge Parish Saturday and Sunday
- Two (2) 8-man offender crews (and officers) and one (1) 12-man offender crew (and officers) from Dixon Correctional Institute are working in Assumption Parish Saturday and Sunday (one in Pierre Part and two in Napoleonville)
- One 10-man offender crew from the Terrebonne Transitional Work Program is working at a Terrebonne Parish Fire Station (with Sheriff's Office)
- Sixty (60) offenders from the West Baton Rouge Transitional Work Program are working in West Baton Rouge Parish
- Two (2) 20-man offenders crews from the Pointe Coupee Transitional Work Program are working in Pointe Coupee Parish
Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Greenstein authorized Medicaid recipients to obtain up to a 30-day supply of their necessary prescriptions if they reside in a potentially affected area. Medicaid Director Don Gregory issued a letter to Louisiana Medicaid pharmacy providers informing them of this and instructing them on how to code overrides.
DHH activated incident response in the Louisiana Medicaid Eligibility Data System to ensure all individuals currently enrolled in one of the affected parishes will be flagged with an event indicator that will allow Medicaid to track and identify claims on their behalf. This will also apply to new enrollees in affected areas who may be displaced as result of the flood.
Facility Evacuations: Maison Jardin SLC, an adult residential care facility in Morgan City, plans to evacuate 13 of their 44 residents to The Gardens in Lake Charles by Thursday, May 19, 2011. The remaining 31 residents will be staying with family members. Pointe Coupee Healthcare, a nursing home in New Roads, reported their critically ill residents will very likely be moved to a sister facility, The Guest House of Baton Rouge, on Monday, May 16, 2011.
EMERGENCY DECLARATION Update
Ouachita parish declared a state of emergency, bringing the total number of parishes with disaster declarations to 33.