Weather Nerd

Jefferson Parish officials fear the worst for West Bank

I mentioned earlier that, even without an eastward track shift that would portend a worst-case scenario for New Orleans generally, Hurricane Gustav appears to pose “a serious threat to the levees on New Orleans’s West Bank — which largely survived Katrina.” Well, officials in Jefferson Parish are taking that threat seriously:

Just hours after calling a voluntary evacuation for the West Bank of Jefferson Parish, officials have upped the severity and ordered a mandatory evacuation, citing the likelihood of a storm surge that could easily overtop the area’s levees.

“The surge, the rain and the wind of this storm is too much for us to ask you to match,” said Parish President Aaron Broussard. “Please consider leaving at your earliest opportunity.” …

Parish council members were on hand to urge residents to heed the warning, with several calling Hurricane Gustav a much greater threat than Hurricane Katrina.

“Katrina and Rita were drills to us compared to what could happen here, based on the models we have,” Councilman Chris Roberts said.

A dusk to dawn curfew goes into effect Sunday parishwide. Broussard said that once the mandatory evacuation is issued, no services will be available from the parish or any other local agency.

“If you do not leave, you will not have services and be confined to your home,” he said.

P.S. Just to clarify a bit on the geography, Wikipedia explains: “[T]he term ‘West Bank’ is used to refer to all of portions of suburban New Orleans that are situated on the western bank of the [Mississippi] river. … The West Bank of suburban New Orleans includes the West Bank of Jefferson Parish (including the suburbs of Waggaman, Avondale, Bridge City, Westwego, Marrero, Harvey, Gretna, Terrytown, Estelle, Timberlane, and Woodmere) and the West Bank of Orleans Parish (including the New Orleans communities of Algiers and English Turn).”