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Sunday, September 22, 2019

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Port holds hurricane readiness meeting

Port holds hurricane readiness meeting

With the 2015 Atlantic basin hurricane season kicking off this week, the Greater Lafourche Port Commission recently held its annual hurricane preparedness meeting for port tenants at its operations facility in Port Fourchon. A large number of port tenant representatives were on hand to discuss the coming issues regarding the season and how the port is preparing for any eventual tropical weather that may effect the area.

Harbor Police Chief Jon Callais addressed the audience noting that while the 2015 season is expected to be a below average one in terms of number of named storms, “it only takes one to really mess up our places of work and our homes.”

Callais stressed to the tenant representatives the need for accurate contact information for all companies at the port should they need to be contacted during a weather emergency.

“Please go to our website and make sure the current contact information is correct for your company,” he stressed. “We can’t get in touch with you if we don’t have correct names, telephone numbers, email addresses and the like.”

Callais also went through the five stages the port uses when a hurricane is identified as a threat to the region. Level 1 is a “storm watch” which goes into effect when a storm enters the Gulf of Mexico. Level 2 is a voluntary evacuation of the port when tropical storm force winds are expected at Port Fourchon within 72 hours. Level 3 is a recommended evacuation of the port when tropical storm force winds are expected within 50 hours. Level 4 is a mandatory evacuation when tropical storm force winds are expected at Fourchon within 36 hours. Callais also noted that Louisiana Highway 1 would be closed below the Leon Theriot lock south of Golden Meadow 12 hours after a mandatory evacuation is called.

“Please plan accordingly to these time frames,” he said. “We have to make sure everyone has ample opportunity to leave before the low lying portions of the highway are covered in water.”

Level 5 is considered “storm in port” when tropical storm force winds are expected within 24 hours and Level 6 is the recovery phase when officials will begin to clear roadways, survey damage and determine a timeline to allow company representatives back to the port to determine damage if any.

Port officials will use a variety of communications measures to stay in contact with the public during weather events including telephone, email and text messages as well as updates on the port web site, public announcements through various print, radio and television media and a public information line.

He concluded by noting, “let’s prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”