Louisiana activates 4000 National Guardsmen, securing sinkhole equipment
The governor of Louisiana, home of an expanding, gas-bubbling sinkhole the size of three football fields with radiation levels three times the state's acceptable limit, hasactivated 4,000 members of the Louisiana National Guard to assist with Tropical Storm Isaac heading toward it, as officials and Texas Brine Co. work to secure the massive hole's exploratory rig and other equipment.
Because Isaac is expected to be very dangerous and is heading to Louisiana where a giant sinkhole has been bubbling and expanding out of control for weeks, the state already has activated 4,000 members of the Louisiana National Guard to assist with emergency operations, has reached out to nearby states for possibly more assistance, and officials are working with Texas Brine Co. LLC to determine if the rig at the sinkhole should be shut down, according to Gov. Bobby Jindal.
“I would recommend to our people, let’s hope and pray for the best even as we prepare for the worst,” Jindal said. “Now is the time to make sure you’ve got an evacuation plan.”
Up to 18 inches of rain is possible in Louisiana along with a storm surge up to 12 feet, according to the NHC, a worry to Louisiana's sinkhole disaster workers and to residents.
Louisiana's state Department of Natural Resources is working with Texas Brine of Houston to ensure that equipment at the massive sinkhole site and surrounding areas in Assumption Parish are secure, according to Jindal.
Workers were to resume drilling an observational well at the sinkhole site Sunday to examine a nearby salt cavern believed to have caused the sinkhole, Texas Brine said in a news release.
"During the next 24 hours, efforts will be concentrated on securing monitoring equipment that has been installed in the immediate area in anticipation of the approaching storm," Texas Brine stated.
Officials are expected to determine Monday morning if the rig needs to be shut down based on Isaac’s path, a Texas Brine release states.
Assumption Parish officials have declared a state of emergency due to Isaac and Sunday afternoon, Jindal urged residents there in low-lying areas to evacuate.
The National Guard is ready to serve, it says.
"As Tropical Storm Isaac approaches the Gulf of Mexico, the Louisiana National Guard is reassuring its fellow citizens that we have been preparing for the worst by training at our best all year round, most recently during the Disaster Response and Commodities Distribution Exercises," it states in a written statement.
"We continue to stand ready to support our citizens, local and state authorities in support of any emergency at the direction of the governor."