Alexandria, La. (October 7, 2020) — Workers with the City of Alexandria are actively preparing for the possibility of high winds and heavy rain Friday from Hurricane Delta, currently projected to make landfall south of Lafayette midday Friday.
National Weather Service forecasts indicate Alexandria could get 4-8 inches of rain from the storm as well as wind gusts of more than 70 miles per hour, with wind activity expected to start increasing overnight Thursday. In preparation, city workers are clearing storm drains and picking up tree debris ahead of the storm. Residents are asked to refrain from placing any remaining debris from Hurricane Laura curbside until after Hurricane Delta has passed to reduce the risk of clogging storm drains.
Self-serve sandbag locations for Alexandria residents opened at 3 p.m. at the Johnny Downs Sports Complex, Bringhurst Field, Frank O. Hunter Park, Cheatham Park and the 911 Center in Martin Park. Pre-made sandbags will be available for elderly and infirm residents from 9 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
“We are still recovering from Hurricane Laura and now we have another major hurricane expected to pass through Central Louisiana,” said Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall. “Like Laura, this storm is still expected to be at hurricane strength when it gets here. Unlike Laura, which passed to our west, the current forecast brings the center directly over Alexandria, which means we could see hurricane force winds. The time to prepare is now. We saw with Laura the devastation that can come from high winds, and residents need to take the proper precautions to ensure their safety.”
As part of preparations, residents should secure loose items around their house that could be blown in the wind, have gas available for generators, make sure you have working flashlights, ensure cell phone batteries are charged and that you have a way to monitor weather conditions so you are ready to react if an emergency arises.
Utility System Director Michael Marcotte reminds residents that shelter procedures will be very different due to COVID-19 concerns and social distancing requirements. “As we noted with Hurricane Laura, sheltering this season is not being done like it has been in the past,” Marcotte said. “As part of their preparations, residents who live in vulnerable areas, particularly those in mobile homes and in low-lying flood-prone areas, should consider making arrangements for sheltering through a friend or relative as part of their personal plan.”
Marcotte said city drainage pumps have been inspected and utility crews are on alert to respond to any power outages or utility service interruptions. Temporary drainage pumps will also be utilized in flood-prone areas. “Alexandria is a gravity drainage area, and we have pumps in place to assist with the flow of water,” Marcotte said. “When we get very heavy rain in a short period of time, some streets will get high water. Residents are urged not to go out during the storm and to avoid driving through high water after the storm to avoid getting trapped or pushing water into homes.”
Marcotte also reminds residents that if power outages occur as a result of the storm, customers may report outages online through the AlexConnects app or by calling (318) 473-1301. Downed wires, poles, and other equipment should be reported to the Electric Distribution Department at (318) 473-1301. Residents are also reminded to avoid downed lines as they may still be energized. Residents are also encouraged to exercise caution while driving as crews and equipment are clearing debris and making repairs along many roads throughout the city.
The Mayor’s Office will provide updates on the Alexandria City Government Facebook page as well as the city website at www.cityofalexandriala.com.
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