Amid new drainage system breakdown, New Orleans braces for another storm

The interior of Willie Mae's Scotch House restaurant which was flooded in the Aug. 5 rains

Amid new drainage system breakdown, New Orleans braces for another storm

After extreme flooding in New Orleans, Mayor Mitch Landrieu calls for repairs to the city's drainage system and has placed blame for the drainage failures on top officials at the Sewerage & Water Board.

The new outage affects the East Bank of New Orleans - all areas west of the Industrial Canal.

Landrieu said the company would do a "serious and thorough analysis and transition to the next executive director and leadership team".

Speaking at an emergency Sewerage & Water Board meeting August 10, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said a "whole army" of people are working on repairs, and he expects the turbine to be back online soon, adding, "I'll believe it when I see it". Four constant duty pumps were out of service in the Lower 9th Ward and New Orleans East. Officials have acknowledged that six of the city's most powerful pumps were not in service in hard-hit areas, though some city leaders first said the drainage system was "operating at its maximum capabilities".

The announcement also comes as the city is perched in a precarious situation following a fire that shut down the only turbine that can provide direct power to the pumps on Wednesday night. "We would not be able to handle that level of capacity right now with the power that we have, which is why it is really important not only to get this turbine back up, but for the rest of hurricane season, backup generators so that we're not in this position again".

The Orleans Parish School Board said in a statement Thursday that schools are closed Thursday "out of abundance of caution".

An official from the board announced at a 7 a.m. news conference that the pumping system can handle about an inch of rainfall before standing water happens.

As New Orleans' water-pumping system continues to malfunction, the mayor is urging residents in some of the city's already-soaked neighborhoods to move their vehicles to higher ground as more rain is in the forecast. The Office of the Mayor had no further details on the fire.

"Because of the visuals of (Hurricane) Katrina, people keep thinking New Orleans is different than everybody else", the mayor said. The other three are under construction and maintenance, he adds.

Landrieu requested immediate emergency repairs and ensured fix crews will "work with haste, get these items in place, and make sure the people of New Orleans get what they deserve". Rainfall is likely to occur in the afternoon.

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