BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The governor is requesting federal assistance because of the ongoing threat of river flooding in Louisiana, according to a Saturday morning release.
Gov. John Bel Edwards had issued a state of emergency on February 27, 2019. The declaration allows the state to use resources to help with flood response efforts, which is coordinated through the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP). His request will cover emergency protective measures and direct federal assistance.
“Weather experts say this has been the wettest stretch on record for the Lower Mississippi River Valley," Edwards said in a prepared statement. “Rivers and waterways across the state have remained elevated for the past several months. River forecasters say this fight will now extend well into the summer and will likely result in the need to open the Morganza Spillway, operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Bonnet Carre spillway is currently open, after being opened and closed earlier this year as part of the flood fight. This is the first year that structure was opened twice. Many of our waterways remain elevated, many roads continue to have problems with standing water and floodwaters threaten homes and businesses in many different regions of the state. The state has already started assisting our local partners and stand ready to expand that assistance as needed.”
GOHSEP’s Crisis Action Team remains active to process any potential requests for support from the parishes impacted by the river flooding. GOHSEP continues to meet with local leaders, state agencies, the National Weather Service and the Army Corps of Engineers on protective actions and planning. Gov. Edwards also led a Unified Command Group (UCG) meeting with these same groups in order to coordinate the emergency response.
Preparations are being made to sink a barge in Bayou Chene, which will help alleviate floodwaters from the Atchafalaya River from flowing back into that area.
In some areas, law enforcement or traffic crews are guiding drivers in areas where standing water is a problem. There could also be traffic delays along some of these routes as temporary flood control measures are installed along certain routes.