JEFFERSON PARISH, La. — Jefferson Parish President John Young says parish officials have with flooding and power outages for those inside the levee protection system as Tropical Storm Isaac makes its way through and then past the metropolitan area.
Additionally, they’re worried about storm surge for those communities outside of the protection network.
“The projections are 15-20 inches of rain,” Young said Tuesday morning. “If it happens over a period of time and the bands come through and allow us to catch up, that’s the best case scenario.”
Young said pumps were in working order and operators were at the ready, but that pumping couldn’t begin until there was water that trickled down out of the neighborhoods into the canal.
“We have to get the water out of the neighborhoods and into the canals,” Young said. “That’s why we’re not pumping the canals completely dry because the walls of the canal will cave in and we’ll have bigger problems. So we have to keep the level of the canals at a certain level before we can begin that suction process.”
But inland flooding isn’t Young’s only concern; he expects power outages to follow as Isaac makes its way through the area.
Young said power could be out anywhere from a 2-5 days. He did, however, say that Entergy’s system has been strengthened in the past four year.
“Gustav was really not a rain event for us but it was lack of power,” Young said. “It took out the transmission lines all the way from here to Baton Rouge. We were out of power for 7-10 days in some spots. Fortunately since then Entergy has fortified their power transmission grid.”
Levee district crews had blocked off Airline Highway at the Jefferson Parish-St. Charles Parish border with HESCO baskets, sealing a gap in the protection system and leaving only River Road and Interstate-310 open as evacuation and re-entry routes.