State agencies assist local gov'ts in storm response; continue to monitor weather

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Friday, May 17, 2013 - 8:55pm

The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and state agencies continue to monitor hazardous weather conditions that brought wind damage and several inches of hail to parts of North Louisiana in recent days. Agencies are working to aid rescue and response efforts and provide assistance to parishes and local communities.

Early assessments indicate 40-50 homes were heavily damaged and 10-12 have severe damage. A mobile command post has been established at Mission Point Church in Stonewall, Louisiana to coordinate resource distribution and assistance to the public. Additionally, the American Red Cross is working to distribute meals in affected areas. Tarps and bottled water have already been supplied by GOHSEP to locals in the area as damage assessments continue. The Louisiana National Guard (LANG) also opened up warehouses at Camp Minden where tarps and water are stored should additional resources be needed.

Two people who were reported injured are now listed in stable condition, and one has been released from the hospital. More than 2,000 people were without power as of Friday morning and workers are moving as quickly as possible to restore it. Additionally, local law enforcement is requiring people to show identification and proof of residency to access areas with the most damage. Curfews may be used again tonight depending upon the situation on the ground, and the sheriff's office is expected to make that determination later this afternoon.

Louisiana State Police Troop G helped motorists and directed traffic around problems in affected areas like Desoto and Caddo Parishes. Troopers report at least one inch of hail covered portions of I-49. The LSP Air Support Unit is on standby for any requested missions.

The Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office has a liaison working with local fire chiefs to provide support and is on standby in the event additional resources are needed.

Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development crews have helped remove trees and power lines off several highways in Caddo and Red River parishes.

GOHSEP Director Kevin Davis says, "GOHSEP personnel remain on site to assist local leaders and coordinate response in all affected areas. We won't stop assisting until we get these areas back to normal. As we respond, we're also working to help all Louisianians get prepared for future emergencies. Hurricane season starts next month, so families and businesses should make sure they have an emergency plan ready."

The public can go to www.getagameplan.org for a list of supplies and instructions to prepare for emergencies and natural disaster events.

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