LAKE CHARLES (KPLC) – Calcasieu officials are now recommending a voluntary evacuation for all of Calcasieu Parish ahead of Tropical Storm Laura.
Laura is expected to make landfall sometime between late Wednesday to early Thursday. Current tracks show it headed for Southwest Louisiana.
The parish said residents in low-lying areas, those without hurricane-safe housing, and those with medical needs are strongly advised to evacuate.
Coastal storm surge and tropical storm warnings associated with #Marco have been discontinued. However, new watches and/or warnings are likely to be issued later this afternoon for portions of the U.S. Gulf coast for Tropical Storm #Laura. https://t.co/JX426wzDzx pic.twitter.com/cyyZoT8iMV
Earlier Monday, Calcasieu officials had said those in storm surge areas or in mobile homes or travel trailers should consider evacuating.
Calcasieu Director of Emergency Preparedness Dick Gremillion recommended the following evacuation routes: Hwy. 109, Hwy. 27, Hwy. 171 and Hwy. 165.
Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso said residents should be preparing now. “Not Wednesday or Thursday, but right now of what they’re going to do and where they’re going to go.
“Every one of us knows our personal safety, so we need to decide right now a plan of action of what we’re going to do and where we’re going to go and how we’re going to implement that plan”
Police Jury President Tony Guillory said those staying should prepare now to shelter in place for a few days, with basic supplies such as food, water, and medicine.
Mancuso said residents should also be preparing for a dusk-to-dawn curfew, beginning Wednesday evening. Essential workers will need ID cards if they are out after curfew.
The Sheriff stressed that residents should carefully weigh whether they are prepared to ride out a storm and the potential aftermath that could leave residents without electricity for a few days.
“I’ve heard people in past storms that stayed and said I’ll never do that again and I’ve had people that left and came back and their home was fine and said I’m not leaving next time,” Mancuso said. “Ultimately that’s going to be your choice and we’re going to be here for you, but there will be a time where your public safety people – like the sheriff’s office, and ambulances and hospitals – will shut down momentarily, so think about those things.”
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