Saturday, September 6, 2008
Word from the homefront
Terrebonne council eyes Hurricane Ike
Published: Saturday, September 6, 2008 at 3:40 p.m. Last Modified: Saturday, September 6, 2008 at 3:52 p.m.
HOUMA - A few preparations are already being made by local government to get ready for another possible storm, Hurricane Ike, expected to enter the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday or Wednesday.
The Terrebonne Parish Council designated three of its members to be in charge of communicating with each other and the community should the hurricane threaten Houma.
"I think we need to start preparing now," Councilwoman Arlanda Williams said at a Terrebonne Parish Council emergency meeting Friday.
The biggest concern: shelters in Terrebonne and Lafourche may have to be evacuated because the state's hurricane plan calls for it, council members said.
Also, the Red Cross, which is running the shelters, will not operate below I-10 during a storm, said Parish Attorney Courtney Alcock. Working with parish government, Red Cross would move the shelters further north, said Ruth Davis, Red Cross spokeswoman, in an interview Saturday.
Houma's two shelters are Dumas Auditorium and Houma Junior High. Lafourche has shelters at Central Lafourche High School, Thibodaux High School and Larose Civic Center.
Council Chairman Clayton Voisin appointed himself, Alvin Tillman and Joey Cehan to coordinate communication to the public.
Councilwoman Teri Cavalier suggested they enlist the help of the various volunteer fire departments to relay any evacuation orders to residents, many of whom are living without electricity, television or Internet access.
"The house I'm staying in only has WWL radio," Cavalier said. "If that's me, that's thousands of other people."
The volunteer fire departments can ride through their districts, announce any evacuation or public-service statements via bull horns or flyers, she said.
Voisin confirmed that many of the firefighters are ready, but "it's a matter of us pulling the trigger."
When asked when the parish government will decide whether to call an evacuation, Parish President Michel Claudet said operations usually start 100 hours before expected tropical-storm force winds arrive.
According to the parish's emergency preparedness plan, the government is supposed to make a call to evacuate at least 60 hours before expected landfall.
Posted by Gary C. Harrell