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 Low-Pressure Area Puts Parishes On Alert

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PostSubject: Low-Pressure Area Puts Parishes On Alert   Fri Sep 21, 2007 7:22 am

Low-Pressure Area Puts Parishes On Alert
Governor Declares Precautionary State Of Emergency

POSTED: 9:13 pm CDT September 20, 2007
UPDATED: 7:09 am CDT September 21, 2007

NEW ORLEANS -- It's not a hurricane or even a tropical storm. But an area of low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico near Florida has parishes in southeast Louisiana on alert for a lot of rain, wind and some coastal flooding.

"Satellite imagery, radar data and surface observations indicate that the system is gradually becoming better organized but does not yet have the characteristics of a subtropical or tropical cyclone," the National Hurricane Center said early Friday morning. "All interests along the northern Gulf Coast should closely monitor the progress of this system. ... Tropical storm watches and warnings could be promptly required for portions of this area on Friday."

Gov. Kathleen Blanco declared a precautionary state of emergency, advising parishes to call for the evacuation of residents in low-lying areas and those living in trailers. The governor has school buses, ambulance support, National Guard transportation assets and shelter staff on standby, according to a statement from her office.

Plaquemines Parish President Bill Nungesser said school would be in session Friday for the entire parish. No decisions have been made about evacuations, as the system has yet to organize or strengthen, he said.

"We have deployed flood fighting equipment to those flood-prone areas of our parish, and feel that we are as prepared as possible in the event that this weather system threatens," Nungesser said in a statement.

He and other parish leaders planned to meet again Friday morning.

Emergency managers in St. Bernard Parish said they'll follow the lead of New Orleans when it comes to evacuations.

Residents in Jefferson Parish are being asked to clean out the storm drains, and emergency crews are preparing to open shelters for people living in FEMA trailers. Parish pump stations are working and fully staffed.

If a tropical storm or tornado watch is declared, Kenner has planned two shelters for its residents: One at Woodlake Gym, 121 W. Esplanade Ave., in north Kenner, and another at the Buddy Lawson Gym, 1800 Short St, in south Kenner. No food or refreshments will be provided by the gyms, and alcoholic beverages aren't allowed.

In St. Tammany Parish, officials said they're keeping a close eye on the weather as it develops.
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