DENHAM SPRINGS – Sandbag distribution continues today (Tuesday) at Livingston Parish fire stations as a precautionary measure for a tropical storm warning which went into effect Monday night across the southeastern portion of the Louisiana gulf coast.

The center of the storm was located about 265 south-southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph. The storm was moving northwest at 9 mph.

Tropical storm warnings will remain in effect for southeast Louisiana from Intracoastal City to the Louisiana-Mississippi state line until late this week, while a tropical storm watch will prevail for the same period from Intracoastal City, westward to High Island, Texas, east of Houston, forecasters said Tuesday morning.

The National Weather Service in New Orleans also issued a flash flood watch for portions  of southeast Louisiana and Mississippi from Tuesday morning through Thursday evening. 

The sandbag distribution got underway Monday morning after all weather services gave two storm systems a 90 percent probability of  becoming a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico. The storm could bring 5-10 inches of rain to areas across south Louisiana.

Mark Harrell, director of the Livingston Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, along with state officials, strongly urged residents to heed the the alerts.

"If you 're in a low-lying area, we strongly recommend evacuation," he said. "If you're not in a low-lying area, we immediate preparation.

"We still don't know where this storm will go," Harrell said. "We know it may carry a lot of wind, but it will certainly bring a lot of rain, so I'm hoping people will happened here last August.

The affected Louisiana areas in the flash flood watch include: Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Lower Jefferson, Lower Lafourche, Lower Plaquemines, Lower St. Bernard, Lower Terrebonne, Northern Tangipahoa, Orleans, Pointe Coupee, Southern Tangipahoa, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John The Baptist, St. Tammany, Upper Jefferson, Upper Lafourche, Upper Plaquemines, Upper St. Bernard, Upper Terrebonne, Washington, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana. In Mississippi, the affected areas include Amite, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River, Pike, Walthall, and Wilkinson.           

Forecasters predict the unnamed storm to make landfall late Wednesday or early Thursday.. Landfall area remains broad, stretching from southeast Texas to neither side of the Florida Coast. Current show the storm just off the Yucatan Peninsula.

The storm threat brings perhaps a greater sense of urgency to areas recently affected by flood last year, where thousands of families remain in mobile-housing units or RVs during the rebuilding process.

Gov. John Bel Edwards took part in briefings today with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and the National Weather Service (NWS) as they closely monitor the area of low pressure, Invest 93L, in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Statewide coordination with our local and federal partners is underway. Now is the time to prepare for heavy rain and potentially severe weather across South Louisiana,” Gov. Edwards said. “We learned from last year’s floods that even unnamed storms can be devastating, so it is critically important for everyone in South Louisiana to get a game plan before this storm system arrives. My office, along with GOHSEP, will provide regular updates as we receive them."

Daily GOHSEP briefings are underway with all state agencies and parishes concerning the potential tropical weather. GOHSEP has also developed a tool kit to help all citizens prepare for an emergency weather event. Citizens should visit getagameplan.org and download the new Get A Game Plan app on their smartphones.

 "GOHSEP along with the National Weather Service encourage everyone to avoid focusing on the size of this storm as it moves across the gulf,” said GOHSEP Director Jim Waskom. “This system may not be large, but heavy rainfall and coastal flooding are almost a certainty. Flash flooding could be a problem with the National Weather Service indicating 1"-15 inches of rain possible in some areas. Use this time to prepare. Listen to information from your local leaders. Monitor your local media. Go to getagameplan.org for critical information to protect you, your family and your business. Finalize your emergency plans and check emergency supply kits now."

The National Hurricane Center increased percentages for the development of a tropical storm in not just one, but two cases early Monday morning.

In a 2 a.m. post by NHC, the system of disturbed weather in the Caribbean — now named Invest 93L — has a broad area of low pressure located near the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and continues to produce a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms along with winds to gale force several hundred miles to the east and northeast of the estimated center.

It is now rated by the hurricane center that the formation of a tropical cyclone is both 90 percent for the next 48 hours and over the next five days.

Jumping into the picture is Tropical Storm Two — now named Invest 92L — which is organizing 550 nautical miles to the east southeast of Trinidad.

The system is moving west at 20 knots with current wind speeds between 35 to 45 knots and gusts between 40 to 50 knots. Seas are running as high as 12 feet.

The increasing strength and organization of this weather system has NHC requesting three hourly ship reports within 300 miles of its location.

This area of highly disturbed weather is expected to be rated a tropical storm as it moves through the Windward Islands Monday night into Tuesday.

Just like Invest 93L, NHC is reporting that its formation into a tropical cyclone is both 90 percent for the next 48 hours and over the next five days.

Models for the track of Invest 92L head straight through the Keys and into Miami, with a possible track along the Atlantic coast of Florida.

PREPARATION

  • Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan for where you can stay. Contact your local emergency management agency for more information.
  • Put together a disaster supply kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate
  • If you are not in an area that is advised to evacuate and you decide to stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.
  • Make a family emergency communication plan.
  • Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications.To find out what alerts are available in your area, search the Internet with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.”

PREPARING YOUR HOME

  • Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall, so before hurricane season trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe.
  • Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property.
  • Reduce property damage by retrofitting to secure and reinforce the roof, windows and doors, including the garage doors.
  • Purchase a portable generator or install a generator for use during power outages. Remember to keep generators and other alternate power/heat sources outside, at least 20 feet away from windows and doors and protected from moisture; and NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging a generator into a wall outlet.
  • Consider building a FEMA safe room or ICC 500 storm shelter designed for protection from high-winds and in locations above flooding levels.  

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