Jindal: Triggers will "likely" be hit to open Morganza
BATON ROUGE - Governor Bobby Jindal reiterated his call today for people who could be affected by the Morganza Spillway to make evacuation plans now.
Jindal said according to Corps of Engineers estimates, the Mississippi River would probably reach the point where it "triggers" the opening of the Morganza sometime this weekend.
He said people needed to check the Corps' inundation maps to see how much water their area could see, and have evacuation plans ready to go now.
"There's no reason to wait," he said. "Now is the time to make preparations."
The latest estimates show the Mississippi River is expected to crest May 22 at around 47.5 feet.
Jindal said today 500 National Guard members had been activated in the state to help with preparations and any evacuations in parishes along the river. He also said 25 parishes had declared disasters ahead of the expected river crest.
Some Guard members were continuing to deploy HESCO baskets to shore up areas that could be affected by the Morganza Spillway opening. Because they were using HESCO baskets faster than the manufacturer could make them, Jindal said Guard members in Krotz Springs and other areas were also building additional levees using recycled asphalt.
A Department of Corrections spokesperson said earlier that evacuations at Angola Penitentiary were proceeding. Yesterday 192 offenders were transported to the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel, and 140 more were transported today. Death Row inmates were also moved to the "old" Death Row area at Angola, which is on higher ground.
The rising river levels are also expected to close the Hollywood and Belle of Baton Rouge casinos around May 22. Jindal said Hollywood Casino would close when the river level reaches 45 feet, and the Belle when it reaches 47 feet.