Tropical system hitting Teche Area becoming increasingly likely

Flooding remains a potential concern for Teche Area residents after the National Weather Service’s forecast for a tropical storm or hurricane hitting the central Gulf coast over the weekend. The 7 p.m. Wednesday update from the National Hurricane Center set a projected cone putting the path of Potential Tropical Cyclone 2 making landfall between Terrebonne Bay south of Houma on the east end and Galveston, Texas, on the west end with the projected landfall at 1 p.m. Saturday near Pecan Island in southwestern Vermilion Parish.

The Teche Area is preparing to get this wet this weekend, as a tropical system in the gulf seems more and more likely to hit the area Saturday.

The National Weather Service in Lake Charles said Wednesday that the exact timing, location, intensity and specific threats of the system are still developing.

A hurricane watch is up for Cameron, Vermilion, Iberia, and St. Mary parishes.

People should be prepared for hurricane force winds by Saturday, with tropical storm force winds starting on Friday, according to the NWS.

Rainfall totals are estimated to be 10 to 15 inches along and to the east of the path, which is expected to result in significant flooding.

Storm surge could be significant along coastal areas, depending on the strength of the storm.

Isolated tornadoes will be a threat Friday through the weekend

Due to the severe weather forecast, the City of New Iberia will have sand and sandbags available to the public at the Acadian Ballpark at 401 N. Landry Dr. Shovels will not be provided, and residents should be prepared to fill their own sandbags.

Additional sandbags will be provided at most Iberia Parish fire stations, as well as Loreauville Park.

Sandbags are also available in St. Martin Parish and be obtained at Cecilia Park in Cecilia, the public works annex off Berard Street and City Barn on Bridge Street in St. Martinville.

In St. Mary Parish, the city of Franklin is currently performing Emergency Preparedness Operations due to the incoming storm.

The floodgates on the Franklin Canal will be closed 9 a.m. Friday. Once closed the water level will be pumped down and will not be reopened until the tropical system has passed and the water levels become stable.

Emergency personnel and city employees are working throughout Franklin currently to ensure drains and ditches are cleared and the city is prepared for this event, according to Mayor Eugene Foulcard.

A Cleco spokesman said Wednesday that the company also is preparing to service potentially damaged service areas during and after the storm.

“The intensity of the system remains uncertain, ranging from either a tropical depression to a tropical storm, which would be named ‘Barry’,” said James Lass, general manager of distribution operations and emergency management. “We are closely monitoring weather reports. Our crews and equipment are on alert and ready to respond, and we ask our customers to prepare, as well.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a state of emergency Wednesday in preparation for the impact of the low-pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico.

Edwards said in a prepared statement that this is going to be a Louisiana event that impacts every part of the state, and no one should take this storm lightly.

“We expect multiple parishes to declare states of emergency, and we stand ready to assist our local partners with all available resources,” Edwards said. “My office is in constant communication with FEMA and we will continue to provide updates as necessary.”

To prepare for a hurricane, it is recommended that you:

• Develop an emergency plan that addresses any special medical needs family members might have.

• Know all evacuation routes.

• Have an emergency kit stocked and readily available.

• Pay attention to local weather reports on the radio, television or Internet.

• Stock up on groceries, water, medications and any other necessities.

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