Evacuations are underway in areas outside of Louisiana's levee system ahead of Tropical Storm Nate. Nate is barreling through the Caribbean on a path towards the Gulf of Mexico. Forecasters say it's likely to grow into a Category 1 hurricane before it slams into the Gulf Coast Saturday night. Residents across New Orleans are making last-minute preparations before the storm hits.
At a fire station in Lakeview, residents filled up sandbags to protect their homes from flooding. Between shovel fulls, Christina Daggett explained she doesn't trust the city's drainage system, which has suffered in recent months from broken pumps.
"My street now floods in a good rainstorm, so I don't know what a tropical storm or a hurricane is going to do," said Daggett.
Linda Davis loaded several sandbags into a minivan. She's a caretaker for 91-year-old Robert Schimek, who's sitting in the passenger seat. He said past storms didn't worry him.
"I was a well person," he said. "But now you see that scooter in the back."
Schimek isn’t very mobile, so the prospect of flooding is kind of scary.
"I kind of would have prefered to leave and not be here for the hurricane, but it’s just so much trouble to get me packed up and get out of here," said Schimek.
Davis said a caretaker will be staying with Schimek throughout the weekend. City officials say the drainage system should be able to handle the rain predicted. But they are still urging seniors and people with disabilities to sign up for the special needs registry by dialing 3-1-1.
Meanwhile in Baton Rouge, Gov. John Bel Edwards warned Louisiana residents to stay alert.
"No one should take this storm lightly," said Edwards.
Officials say power outages and high winds are the major concerns inside the levee system.
New Orleans residents can pick up sandbags at the following locations, according to NOLA Ready:
- 987 Robert E. Lee Blvd.
- 2000 Martin Luther King Blvd.
- 4115 Woodland Ave.
- 2118 Elysian Fields Ave.
- 5403 Read Blvd.