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The water churns as a pump runs at the Marvin Braud pumping station Wednesday July 10, 2019, in Sorrento, La.

Ascension and St. James parishes have opened sandbag sites, and Ascension officials say they will start pumping down waterways as soon as it is feasible in advance of Hurricane Delta.

Meanwhile, officials in neighboring St. James Parish have declared a state of emergency, following other parishes in the region and Gov. John Bel Edwards, opening the parish up to federal assistance.

St. James officials said impacts from Delta could be felt as early as Friday morning. 

Ascension Parish President Clint Cointment warned residents Wednesday to prepare for heavy wind and rain and the risk of flash flooding.

“I have placed my staff on alert, and we are monitoring all Parish waterways,” Cointment said in a statement Wednesday. “The Marvin Braud and Sorrento pumping stations will be activated as soon as it is feasible.”

Martin McConnell, spokesman for Ascension government, said waterways in the Marvin J. Braud Pumping Station system don't yet have enough water to begin proactive pumping.

Light rain in recent days have left those waterways only slightly up with daily tidal swings. McConnell expected pumping could start Thursday afternoon.

The practice, in particular at the Marvin Braud station in the McElroy Swamp, has drawn criticism for years from residents in neighboring St. James and Livingston parishes who argue Ascension is pushing water on them.

But Ascension has employed the stations heavily during this busy storm season.

Once bearing directly down on Baton Rouge, Hurricane Delta's forecast track has continued to shift west and was forecast mid-morning Wednesday to hit the Louisiana coast near Cameron and Vermilion parishes on Friday.

At landfall, Delta is expected to be a Category 2 or 3 storm with tropical storm force winds that could extend outward 125 miles.

Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain are part of a storm surge watch across the entire coast of Louisiana, the National Hurricane Center said.

Parish officials urged Ascension residents to sign up for the parish's Everbridge Emergency Alert System by calling the Citizens Service Center at (225) 450-1200.

Weather updates will be posted regularly on the parish government Facebook pages in both St. James and Ascension and the parish homeland security Facebook page in Ascension.

Residents are asked to check for any debris in their yards and drainage ditches, and remove it if possible. Loose items should be tied down or stowed away.

Cointment urged those with someone in their family who has special needs to inform first responders who and where they are in advance.

“Do not take this storm lightly,” he said. 

Because of the storm activity this summer, thousands of pre-filled sandbags were given out in Ascension.

Parish crews have not had much time to fill very many bags, but some have been made available, in addition to loose sand and bags, officials said. Residents should bring their own shovels.

Sand and bags are available at the following locations:

• 5th Ward Volunteer Fire Department, Station 40 in Darrow,  39110 La. 22, Darrow

• Butch Gore Memorial Park, 14550 Harry Savoy Road, St. Amant

• Ascension Parish Fire Protection District No. 1, 13192 Airline Hwy., Gonzales

• Stevens Park, 4323 Cannon Road, Gonzales

• Jackie Robinson Memorial Park, 35638 Coco Road, Geismar

• Galvez-Lake Fire Department,  16288 Joe Sevario Road, Prairieville

• 7th District Fire Department substation,13398 Roddy Road, Gonzales

• Prairieville Fire Department, La. 73 at Miller Road, Prairieville

• St. Amant Recreational Park, 45404 Stringer Bridge Road, St. Amant

• Highway 431 curve in  the Lake community

• Kleinpeter Road at Ridge Road

• Buxton Road

• Prairieville schools at Parker Road

• Tullier subdivision

West Bank

• Modeste-Brusly Township Road

• Modeste Park, 3544 Butler's Road, Donaldsonville

• Lemanville Park, 3131 La. 18 E., Donaldsonville

• Abend Park, 3110 Mt. Bethel Road, La. 18, Donaldsonville

• Saint Jude subdivision

• DPW West, 725 Church St, Donaldsonville

• Palo Alto Fire Station, La. 1 South 

St. James Parish also opened sandbag locations Wednesday:

Five self-service sandbag locations are open for St. James Parish residents.  Sand and bags are available; please bring a shovel to fill sandbags.

  • Grand Point Fire Station - 32122 La. 642, Paulina
  • Vacherie Fire Training Center - 29126 Health Unit St., Vacherie
  • Kingview Street Fire Station - 8120 Kingview Street, St. James
  • Gramercy Water Plant - 407 E. Jefferson Hwy., Gramercy
  • Lutcher Water Plant - 1132 Lutcher Ave., Lutcher

Email David J. Mitchell at dmitchell@theadvocate.com

Follow David J. Mitchell on Twitter, @NewsieDave.