Update from St.Tammany Parish President Pat Brister
I am asking all residents of St. Tammany Parish to stay at home. Do not go into the streets unless absolutely necessary. We are beginning damage assessments while still continuing rescue operations.
Trees are down, power lines are down. In the interest of safety, please stay in place today.
St. Tammany is under a flood warning until Sunday afternoon, a tornado watch, and a tropical storm warning. I ask every resident to remain vigilant.
As you are all aware, our waterways have been unable to drain into Lake Pontchartrain because of the lake level. The height of the rivers and bayous is being controlled by rainfall, the height of the lake and the direction of the winds.
This morning, the National Weather Service reported that St. Tammany Parish is predicted to receive tropical force storm winds through about 2:00PM. The tides will not begin to drop until about 2 o'clock in the afternoon.
We may have an additional 3-6 inches of rain today.
When the winds subside, the lake will slowly begin to drain. Some of our rivers and bayous may still rise until the lake becomes low enough to allow them to drain.
Bayou Bon Fouca overflowed into Bayou Pattasat overnight and is flooding portions of the City of Slidell. Rescue operations are underway. At this time, we don't know when this water will subside.
We are working directly with the Mayor and his staff. We have sent our emergency operations director to Slidell to set up a unified command post to assist them in any way.
Rescue operations also continue. Over 350 rescues have been completed by first responders.
AT&T reported a short while ago that land line communications in the Town of Madisonville are down, including the 9-1-1 system. Some cell service is still available.
THE AT&T CENTRAL OFFICE IN SLIDELL IS BEING THREATENED BY WATER.
The Tchefuncte is predicted to be 2.5 feet above flood stage at Folsom this evening and 5 feet above flood stage tonight near Covington. This is about an additional 5 foot rise.
The Bogue Falaya is expected to reach 6.5 feet above flood stage tonight at Boston Street.
The Pearl River will be 4 feet above flood stage at the Town of Pearl River by Sunday evening.
Roads are closed throughout St. Tammany Parish.
As of 8:30 this morning, a total of 83,514 residences and businesses are without power.
The following areas are under a boil advisory:
French Branch Estates
The Landings of Cross Gates
River Oaks Subdivision
Alton Water System
Ben Thomas Water System
If your neighborhood is listed above or you believe that your well may have been compromised, bring all drinking water to a full boil for a least one minute before using it for drinking or cooking.
The Mississippi Emergency Operations center has informed us in the past hour that the dam in Percy Quinn State Park is in imminent threat of failure. We are assessing at this time what that will mean to the Tangipahoa River in St. Tammany. We advise residents from I-12 at the Parish line south to Highway 22 and east to Perrileux to remain vigilant. We believe there is enough area to absorb any additional water from the dam break. Even though the area is already sodden.
Please remain in that safer location until we notify you to return.
We need to ascertain how much water from that reservoir will affect us. We will be making reverse 9-1-1 calls to advise residents in that area. In the meantime, be cautious. Find a location outside of the area I just mentioned.
The weather will begin to clear on Friday. However, heat indexes will begin to rise and are predicted to top 100' Friday and possibly through the weekend.
A curfew is in effect tonight from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM.