NEW ORLEANS (CBS) — The Gulf Coast is keeping a wary eye on Tropical Storm Nate.

The storm has already dumped torrential rain in Central America, and now it has its sights set on the Gulf Coast.

As the storm approaches, New Orleans is racing to get its flood pumps running.

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“Once again we find ourselves in familiar territory, threatened by another storm that’s coming our way,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Taking no chances in the city, Landrieu declared a state of emergency in New Orleans.

The city’s drainage issue was revealed during flash flooding on Aug. 5 when a storm drenched the city with 8 to 10 inches of rain in one day.

The problems included pumps and turbine power stations not working, and a shortage of personnel at the Sewage and Water Board – the agency that runs the drainage system.


New Orleans has a total of 120 pumps – 19 of those pumps were not operational during the August storm. Seven of them are back online and 26 backup generators are also in place.

“Starting Saturday at noon, we’ll have 140 pump operators and 42 support personnel activated, they’ll be operating 24/7,” said Paul Rainwater of the New Orleans Sewage and Water Board.

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The main concern of this system remains the storm surge.

Some low-lying areas of Louisiana have already been ordered to evacuate.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has activated 1,300 National Guard troops across the state, including 15 assigned to New Orleans to monitor the pumps.

“This is a storm not to be taken lightly, this is not an exercise, and if we get exactly what’s forecasted it’s gonna be serious,” said Bel Edwards.

This system has slowed down oil production in the Gulf as 15 percent of that production is offline, which is some 254,000 barrels of crude oil every single day.

Many of the staff from those oil platforms have been evacuated.

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