Parish certification could lead to lower flood insurance
“As of Tuesday, from our estimation, we should be in good standing to receive this certification,” Tab Troxler, emergency operations director, said. “One of our final requirements was to take parish officials on a tour of the weather service system.”
Parish officials toured the offices of the National Weather Service on May 1 in Slidell to satisfy the final requirement of the organization’s StormReady certification program.
“As parish president, the presentation really opened my eyes to the things I’ll have to consider in making the decision to evacuate or not,” V.J. St. Pierre said. “With the help of the National Weather Service, I know my decisions will be based on sound scientific data, especially considering the vulnerability of the west bank during hurricanes.”
Out of the 64 parishes in the state of Louisiana, there are only eight parishes to receive the certification and only two cities so far, Baton Rouge and Lake Charles.
“I’ve been around since 1990 and this is the first time that a parish president brought representatives from the administrative staff, along with council people and other parish agencies, to the weather conference,” Troxler said. “This certification will give the parish an edge when it comes to applying for federal grants.”
Troxler says that residents would also know that St. Charles Parish is prepared for a storm event.
“Once a parish receives the certification for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), signs are posted along the highways letting everyone in the parish know that St. Charles is storm ready.”
Troxler says he’s completed the application process and will soon submit it. The parish should have an answer about the certification within the next 30 to 45 days.
“This certification will also let the public know that we have a system in place that’s working,” he said. “We have fulfilled the requirements and we will be the first of the 22 parishes in the Gulf region to receive the certification if it’s approved.”
Officials also participated in a presentation outlining the hurricane threat to St. Charles Parish based on scientific data from the NWS.
Sea, Lake, and Overland Surge From Hurricanes (SLOSH) modeling shows that a Katrina-type storm moving directly over the Barataria Basin could trigger a storm surge of over 10 feet at the Mississippi River levee on St. Charles Parish’s west bank.
To be recognized as StormReady, a community must establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center; have more than one way to receive severe weather forecasts and warnings to alert the public; create a system that monitors local weather conditions; promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars; and develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.
An advisory board, comprised of National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologist, and state and local emergency managers, will review applications from municipalities and visit the locations to verify the steps made in the process to become StormReady.
After the advisory board approves certification, the community will receive a formal letter, along with StormReady signs that can be displayed along its major roadways. StormReady communities must stay freshly prepared, because the designation is only valid for two years. The advisory board seeks to officially designate 20 communities each year for the next five years as StormReady.
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