Noon update: Parish upgrades level on evacuation plan

Published 12:00 pm Monday, May 9, 2011

VIDALIA — Though no evacuation of Concordia Parish has been ordered, Concordia Parish officials have raised the situation to a “level 2” status.

Level 2 status includes:

• Suggested pre-planning for evacuation of houses/property.

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• Pre-packaging of personal, irreplaceable property (i.e. important papers, photographs, certificates, etc.)

Concordia Parish Police Jury President Melvin Ferrington said the new status is no cause for alarm.

“If you feel like you need to evacuate, do so at your own personal caution. We are not in evacuation mode,” Ferrington said. “We are not recommending evacuation at this time. The levees are still holding well, and I believe we are going to get through this OK.

“This is a part of the procedure when an area is going through these types of problems, and we are just trying to prepare for the worst.”

The parish has been at level 1 of the evacuation plan since last week. Level 1 is simply a declaration of a state of emergency. No action by citizens is suggested in level 1.

Parish officials have also released a map of potential evacuation routes, available for download as a PDF here.

Pick-up points are also starred on the map for those residents who may need transportation if the parish should need to move into a mandatory evacuation mode.

The designated pick-up locations would be the three parish high schools located in Vidalia, Ferriday and Monterey, along with the Head Start site in Clayton located on U.S. 425 and Louisiana 15.

The remaining evacuation levels — not yet issued — are 3 and 4.

Level 3 is a recommended volunteer evacuation. It includes the removal of personal possessions, the removal of cattle, farm equipment and industrial equipment. Those who evacuate are asked to request cut-off of personal utilities and notify local authorities of their evacuation so property can be patrolled against vandalism. Level 3 also includes a recommended hospital, nursing facility and school closure.

Level 4 is a mandatory evacuation. No livestock, farm equipment or industrial equipment will be allowed on highways until mass civilian evacuation has been executed.

A mandatory evacuation of hospitals, nursing facilities and school closures will occur.

The Mississippi River currently stands at 56.45 at Natchez. It is expected to rise past the highest levels in history — 57.03 in 2008 and 58.04 in 1937 — early this week.

The predicted crest is 64 feet on May 21.

Work to erect sand barriers around all Vidalia Riverfront buildings is expected to be complete today. The businesses on the riverfront will likely be closed for four to five weeks, Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland said.

Until flood worries wane, The Natchez Democrat will post daily river updates at noon and 5 p.m. Breaking news and other alerts will be posted throughout the day, as available. Also, a live feed of the Natchez river level is constantly updated 24-7 on our home page.

Send flood-related questions or submit flood photographs to