While Hurricane Isaac was downgraded to a tropical storm on Wednesday, Aug. 29, heavy wind and rain continued to pound the Gulf Coast region.
On Wednesday, truck drivers were waiting at staging areas in four states to find out when – or if – they will be needed to haul in emergency supplies to affected areas at Federal Emergency Management Agency supply distribution centers set up in Georgia, Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana.
As of press time on Wednesday, OOIDA Member Mike Schiotis of Spring Hill, TN, was at a staging area about 60 miles from New Orleans, waiting for word on whether he will be needed.
OOIDA Member William E. Stine III of New Albany, IN, told Land Line early Wednesday that he had been on stand-by at a staging area near Dallas for about a week, but that he received word earlier his truck wasn’t needed.
“I take it as a good sign because they don’t believe it’s going to be as bad as they thought it was,” Stine said.
At a 2 p.m. briefing on Wednesday, James Franklin with the National Hurricane Center, said that even though Isaac has been downgraded to a tropical storm, he advised the people in the affected areas not to “let their guard down.”
“The life-threatening hazards from the rainfall and the flooding and the surge continue. They will continue through this afternoon and this evening, and the surge will continue through tonight, Franklin said. “The event is not over.”
Franklin said that 70 mph winds were reported in Gulfport, MS, on Wednesday afternoon. In Lousiana, Interstate 10 near LaPlace was closed in both directions Wednesday morning because of flooding. The transportation agencies in Louisiana and Mississippi continue to update motorists on road and bridge conditions throughout the states.
On Tuesday, Aug. 28, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson granted a partial fuel waiver by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, “which will make it easier for distributors to keep the state’s supply of fuel available as it responds to Hurricane Isaac.”
In a release, the waiver will allow state refineries in 14 parishes the latitude to use higher Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) fuels through Sept. 6 to assist with fuel shortages.