Gov. John Bel Edwards says Tropical Storm/Hurricane Barry could create need for search & rescue operations

Gov. John Bel Edwards spoke to the media Thursday afternoon in Morgan City, asking motorists to not drive through flood waters if they are unsure how deep the water is. Flanking Edwards are state Sen. Bret Allain and state Rep. Sam Jones.

MORGAN CITY — Gov John Bel Edwards believes Tropical Storm Barry will create search and rescue operations throughout south Louisiana.

“We’re looking at 15 inches of rain in a relatively short period of time,” Edwards said Thursday as he made a stop at the St. Mary Parish Emergency Operations Center. There will be widespread flooding.

“So believe me, it doesn’t take much current or much depth of water to wash a vehicle off the road or into a ditch, or into a nearby stream. Motorists should not drive through water not knowing how deep or shallow it is.”

The governor was at the emergency operations center to brief the media on some of the state’s plans.

Noting that he has activated 3,000 National Guardsmen, Edwards said, “we believe that search and rescue operations will be conducted.”

The governor also has ordered 180 school buses and 150 coach buses that will positioned at three different locations throughout South Louisiana, “because as we pull individuals out, we will transport them to the state owned mega shelter in Alexandria, which we have opened today to prepare for that purpose.

“Search and rescue will be a big issue, including search and rescues using boats.”

Edwards said has hired a rescue team out of Texas that the state used in 2016, which will be stationed in close proximity to St. Mary Parish for potential rescue operations.

“This is a very significant weather event,” he said. “The National Weather Service is describing it has having life threatening floods.”

Edwards also explained that while Barry was never going to be a wind event, it is still projected to be a Category 1 Hurricane when it makes landfall, which means 74 mph winds.

“The hardest thing for the National Weather Service to predict is rapid intensification. It could easily make landfill as a Cat 2, so we should not let our guard up.”

“Lastly, we should pray. I believe in the power of prayer,” Edwards said.

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