Alexandria, La. (Jan. 9, 2020) — 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.
“The safety of our citizens is our primary concern,” said Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall. “We don’t know exactly where the storm will go or how strong it will be until it gets here, so the time for residents to make preparations is now. We are watching the situation closely, and the city is ready to respond immediately if we have storm-related damage.”
City workers are following standard protocols for storm preparation, as they did in advance of Hurricane Barry and in other instances where severe weather was predicted for the area. Utility Systems Director Michael Marcotte said crews are actively making preparations throughout the city ensuring drains are clear, removing debris and verifying emergency response supplies are staged and ready for use. “We are actively monitoring the storm forecast and will have crews ready and prepared to respond as needed,” he said.
Noting some residents are still cleaning up damage from the EF3 tornado that struck the area Dec. 16, 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.
“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.
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. In regard to the Johnny Downs Sports Complex, which was heavily damaged in that storm, workers plan to remove or secure as much debris as they can today and Friday. However, it will take weeks for the city and contractors to remove all of the debris, much of which is too large to remove quickly.
Customers are reminded that when storms occur resulting in power outages and storm damage they may report outages online through the AlexConnects app. Downed wires, poles, and other equipment should be reported to the Electric Distribution Department at (318) 473-1301. Residents are reminded to avoid downed lines as they may still be energized and avoid driving in flooded areas.
Also, residents should stay indoors and off the roads if possible during the storm and exercise extreme caution while driving after a storm as crews and equipment may be clearing debris and making repairs along roads throughout the city.