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Roger Erickson, warning coordinator for the National Weather Service’s Lake Charles office, points to a screen Thursday during a hurricane season preparedness meeting at the Port of Morgan City’s Emergency Operations Center By ZACHARY FITZGERALD This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Forecasters expect the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season will have just be-low average activity. But officials say St. Mary Parish’s already swollen waterways could lead to a potential disaster if any storm brings significant rainfall.The Port of Morgan City hosted a hurricane season preparedness meeting Thursday at its Emergency Operations Center in conjunction with the St. Mary Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, St. Mary Levee District and U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Morgan City. Researchers at Colorado State University have projected the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season to see slightly below normal activity with 13 named storms, five hurricanes and two major hurricanes. The season starts June 1 and ends Nov. 30.But as forecasters and hurricane preparedness officials often say, it only takes one bad storm in a season to devastate communities. And the high water this year exacerbates that possible situation.Tim Osborn, navigation manager for NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey, said the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers this year have shattered the previous records for consecutive days above flood stage with about 140 straight days over that threshold.“We’ve had the wettest year in recorded history above us,” Osborn said.Therefore, high river conditions and backwater flooding are likely to re-main for a significant amount of time, which could worsen the potential effects of storm surge, Osborn said. “This high water season is no joke, and it is not going away. And we have no-where for water to go at this point,” said Coast Guard Cmdr. Heather Mattern, commanding officer of MSU Morgan City.Residents need to take the high water into consideration when determining what to do in the event of a storm this hurricane season, Mattern said.The region is currently in a weak El Niño, which typically means there’s stronger wind shear and usually indicates fewer than normal hurricanes will form in the Atlantic Ocean, said Roger Erickson, warning coordinator for the National Weather Service’s Lake Charles office.However, pockets of low wind shear still exist during overall strong wind shear, leading to possible formation of storms, he said. An El Niño weather pattern means that the water temperature in the Pacific Ocean near the equator is above normal, La Niña would indicate that the water temperature in the equatorial Pacific Ocean is below normal.Hurricane winds catch people’s attention, but the amount of rain that hurricanes can drop is usually the biggest issue, said Jimmy Broussard, liaison officer for St. Mary’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.Officials have plans in place if a hurricane or other storm warrants evacuation of St. Mary Parish. Forty-eight hours before a storm is projected to make landfall, officials will evacuate hospitals, nursing homes, jails and people with special needs. Thirty-six hours prior to landfall, all residents south of the Intracoastal Waterway and people without transportation should evacuate. Parish officials will pick up those who don’t have transportation at designated locations and trans-port them to a shelter. If necessary, officials will take people to the pickup points, Broussard said. Morgan City Junior High School and Franklin High School are the two pickup points.Rapides Coliseum in Alexandria is the shelter to which St. Mary Parish residents without a place to go are taken. If St. Mary Parish leaders declare a mandatory evacuation, everyone else should leave the parish at least 24 hours before a storm is projected to hit. The parish issues tags for designated people to re-enter St. Mary after a major storm. Those tags are issued to people who have a priority to return, assess damage and begin rebuilding infrastructure, Broussard said. People can reach the St. Mary Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness by calling 337-828-4100, ext. 135 or visiting its Facebook page. Published by Daily Review May 17, 2019

Portwillputdredgingfunds

Dredging takes place in the Crew boat Cut section of the Atchafalaya River during April



By ZACHARY FITZGERALD

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In mid-April, dredging began in the Crewboat Cut section of the Atchafalaya River.

Brice Civil Constructors, an Alaskan company, is building a special purpose dredge using an offshore support vessel with a drag arm to reduce the density of fluid mud, known as fluff, in the Atchafalaya River Bar Channel. Port leaders expect dredging of the bar channel to commence by June.

Roger Erickson, warning coordinator for the National Weather Service’s Lake Charles Office, speaks during a SKYWARN training class for weather spotters at the Port of Morgan City’s Emergency Operations Center.


By ZACHARY FITZGERALD
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Meteorologists have full-time jobs watching and forecasting potentially hazardous weather. But they still need help from volunteers known as spotters.

The National Weather Service’s Lake Charles Office, Port of Morgan City and St. Mary Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness hosted a SKYWARN training class Monday to show people how to spot and report severe weather.

page0001The Morgan City Harbor and Terminal District Commission held a stakeholder meeting Monday to mainly discuss upcoming dredging projects. From left, are Port Attorney Gerard Bourgeois, commissioners Pete Orlando and Steven Cornes, and Commission President Joe Cain.

By ZACHARY FITZGERALD
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After lots of talk in the past year about starting major dredging projects in the Morgan City area, officials say work will finally be in full swing by the summer. 
The Port of Morgan City hosted a stakeholder meeting and its regular monthly commission meeting Monday.
By September, officials hope to achieve a decent enough water depth to accommodate a lot of vessel traffic from Crewboat Cut south of Morgan City in the Atchafalaya River to the end of the Atchafalaya River Bar Channel, which empties into the Gulf of Mexico.  Sediment accumulation has stifled waterway commerce in the Morgan City area, because many vessels cannot get through the waterways.

lombardocornesswearinginStanding, from left, Morgan City Harbor and Terminal District Attorney Gerard Bourgeois swears in new port
commissioners Troy Lombardo and Steven Cornes at the start of Monday’s commission meeting.

By ZACHARY FITZGERALD
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Despite the partial federal government shutdown, the first meeting of 2019 for the Morgan City Harbor and
Terminal District Commission went on mostly as it normally does.  Two new commissioners, Steven Cornes and Troy Lombardo, were sworn in at the start Monday’s meeting. The commission also elected Joe Cain as commission president, Lee Dragna as vice president, Deborah Garber as treasurer and Tim Matthews as  secretary. 

As we begin 2019, the Port of Morgan City is pleased to deliver our annual report for the year 2018 to you!  It is rather lengthy, but we hope you will take the time to read it.  We have a lot of good information to share with you.  We also provided links throughout our report to some of the things we discussed incase you want to learn more about the topic.

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National Waterways Conference Gulf Ports Assoc of the Americas Louisiana Industrial Develpment Esecutives Assoc Ports Association of Louisiana Gulf Intracostal Canal Association Inland Rivers Ports and Terminals US Coast Guard Houma

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