In September 2015, NOAA's Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) personnel from the Disaster Response Center in Mobile, Alabama, traveled to New Orleans to participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new water level and meteorological station on the southwest side of Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain.
As part of an agreement with NOAA's National Weather Service, the CO-OPS field team stationed at the Disaster Response Center installed the water level station last April on the I-10 Bonnet Carre Spillway. The following week, assisted by personnel from the Weather Service, they installed new sensors at the site of an old meteorological station in LaPlace, Louisiana. These sensors will provide real-time data for accurate lake modeling, storm surge modeling, and emergency planning and evacuation orders. In the wake of the 10 year commemoration of Hurricane Katrina, parish and state emergency officials spoke passionately about the importance of having access to our critical water level data to be able to make immediate decisions to protect life and property. Turnout included congressional staff from Senator David Vitter's office, as well as staff from Governor Bobby Jindal's office. Several local TV and print news outlets, including the Times Picayune, also showed up to cover the story. This event highlighted a great partnership between CO-OPS, the National Weather Service, and St.John's Parish. It also demonstrated CO-OPS' key role in coastal resilience—the ability to provide communities with critical coastal information to ensure proper planning and preparation for storm surge and flooding events. Read more about the water level and weather sensor installations in a NOAA press release.