GOHSEP urges preparation for severe weather
BATON ROUGE – The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) continues to urge everyone to prepare for severe weather expected to impact the state beginning Friday evening.
The National Weather Service (NWS) officials say all factors expected to cause this significant weather event have developed. Storms ahead of a strong line of storms could begin this afternoon in some portions of Louisiana. NWS Shreveport officials say tornadoes, winds in excess of 80+ mph, flash flooding and hail are possible as the storms push east. Many problems could develop overnight. Weather experts are strongly encouraging everyone to have devices powered on and turned up loud enough to wake you up in order to receive emergency alerts from the NWS, your local media and local emergency officials. Designate a safe spot in your home where you and your family will take cover during severe weather. This would be an interior room or hallway on the lowest level. Stay away from windows. The best place to be is a bathroom in the middle of the ground floor. The plumbing provides additional protection around the walls.
GOHSEP is activating 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.
“In briefings this morning, the NWS Shreveport office indicated these types of threats only develop 2-4 times per year on average. Experts say it’s extremely unusual to see the threat happen in January,” said GOHSEP Director Jim Waskom. “While the storms and the greatest threat will start in north Louisiana, each region of the state could be impacted through Saturday. Please check on friends and family that may need assistance during significant weather events. Stay alert and keep your phones charged. Severe weather that happens during the overnight hours is historically more dangerous for a number of reasons. People may be unaware of warnings or unaware of damage that is not visible due to darkness. 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.”