Storm preps underway as coastal parishes brace for rainfall

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wwltv.com

Posted on August 18, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Updated Sunday, Aug 18 at 11:01 AM

Jaclyn Kelley / Eyewitness News
Email: jkelley@wwltv.com | Twitter: @jkelleyWWL

NEW ORLEANS -- Coastal Louisiana is gearing up for some heavy rain as local parish officials continue to watch the tropical disturbance developing off the coast.

With rain all day Saturday, pump operators in Plaquemines Parish have been working around the clock. Mainly at pumping stations in the lower West bank, from Diamond to Venice.

"We did pump all of our canals down in anticipation of this rain but we are expecting a lot more rain tonight through tomorrow," said Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser. "So, it will be a long weekend, a long two days for our pump operators."

Like many parishes, a list of new improvements and construction is underway in Plaquemines Parish. A 7.5 mile stretch of Hwy. 23 is being raised 2 and 3 feet to help keep it from flooding.

It's construction projects like these that have parish leaders most concerned with the threat of heavy rainfall.

"We rode the levees this morning to make sure some of the critical areas that we were concerned about, that the heavy rain did not do any damage to those new levees and everything looks in good shape," said Nungesser. "So we are pretty good at this point."

As part of the storm preparations, Plaquemines Parish has 70,000 sandbags on hand, filled and ready to go. Other parishes, like Jefferson Parish, are also getting ready just in case.

"We have been filling sandbags, we bought a sandbagging machine, so we have been stock piling sandbags," said Jefferson Parish President John Young.

Young is calling this a good test run for the parish, which has all its departments on standby.

"We are ready for the rain. We have our sewage department, our vacuum trucks on alert, so everyone is watching everything," said Young.

Residents are also being asked to do their part, clearing the ditches and catch basins around their homes of any debris.

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