NOAA 03-R438
Contact: Glenda Tyson
NOAA News Releases 2003
NOAA Home Page
NOAA Public Affairs


Today the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the St. Charles Parish government will begin an elevation survey of Airline Highway in St. Charles Parish, La., to ensure the highway stays a safe evacuation route during severe storms and hurricanes. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The research team will conduct the survey for two weeks. Airline Highway, also known as Highway 61, is one the of the main evacuation routes used by New Orleans and St. Charles Parish in the threat of a hurricane. The survey will also include the two new tide and water level stations established by NOAA for the Parish and surrounding areas.

“We’re looking to get the exact elevations of this evacuation route relative to storm high water marks from the new tide and water level stations. This data combination is important to determine evacuation timing and safe use of this highway corridor during severe storms and coastal flooding,” said Mike Szabados, director of NOAA’s Center for Operational Products and Services (CO-OPS).

“Our partnership with NOAA has really served St. Charles Parish in building the tools and resources we need to protect our citizens, help in evacuation planning, and plan for future flood protection,” said Albert Laque, St. Charles Parish President.

NOAA will use a sophisticated Global Positioning System (GPS) technique to survey Airline Highway. Once the survey is concluded, a final report will be presented to the Parish for their use as well as to New Orleans and other interested local, state and federal agencies.

“Surveying of these important hurricane evacuation routes is now a priority of NOAA and also aids in our efforts to monitor land elevation loss in Louisiana,” said Charlie Challstrom, director of NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey (NGS).

The work, being funded by CO-OPS, will be conducted by NGS with participation by the St. Charles Parish Department of Transportation Development (DOTD) and the Louisiana Department of Natural Resource (DNR).

NOAA's National Ocean Service, which includes CO-OPS and NGS, is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nation’s coasts and oceans. It balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

On the Web:


NOAA National Ocean Service:

NOAA’s Center for Operational Products and Services:

National Geodetic Survey :