Prepare Now for Possible Severe Weather this Weekend

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The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) is urging everyone to prepare now for possible severe weather expected to impact the state beginning Friday. The National Weather Service (NWS) indicates a line of storms is expected to develop west of Louisiana Friday evening. The storms will push across the state Friday night and Saturday. The storms are capable of producing tornadoes and damaging winds, large hail and flash flooding.

City of Alexandria officials note that current forecasts from the National Weather Service indicate a potential severe line of storms is expected to move through the Alexandria area overnight Friday into Saturday morning. All modes of severe weather, including heavy rains, hail, tornadoes and straight-line winds of 60-80 mph are considered possible. The city encourages residents to make preparations now to be ready for the storm.

GOHSEP will activate its Crisis Action Team (CAT) Friday due to the weather threat. The team will stay activated through Monday night due to the college football national championship game in New Orleans. The team will analyze and process any requests for support from local emergency managers at the parish level. GOHSEP’s regional coordinators will work with local officials potentially impacted by the storms and provide situational reports to the state emergency operations staff.

“It is important for everyone to prepare now and stay weather aware this weekend,” said GOHSEP Director Jim Waskom. “We’ve already dealt with tornadoes and other problems as similar lines of storms moved across the state earlier this winter. It is difficult to determine exactly where the most dangerous conditions will develop. That’s why it is important to monitor your local media, listen to your local emergency managers and first responders and listen for potential watches or warnings issued by the NWS.”

Noting some residents are still cleaning up damage from the EF3 tornado that struck the area December 16th, City of Alexandria Utility Systems Director Michael Marcotte asked that anyone who has tree limbs or other debris please wait until after the storm passes this weekend before putting any waste at the curb for pickup. City officials also encourage property owners affected by last month’s tornado to secure as much remaining scrap metal or other storm debris as possible. “That debris could be blown or washed into drains and cause water to backup,” Marcotte said. “We really appreciate everyone’s help on this.” Regarding debris that is already curbside or in ditches, crews are collecting as much as they can. Residents may call the Sanitation Department at (318) 441-6080 to report debris that needs to be collected.

Find more tips on weather and preparedness on GOHSEP’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. You can receive emergency alerts on most smartphones and tablets by downloading the new Alert FM App. It is free for basic service. The Get A Game Plan App is another resource available to help you and your family prepare for any type of emergency. You can download the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Guide and find other information at www.getagameplan.org.