ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - City of Alexandria employees spent the day Friday making final preparations for Tropical Storm Barry by installing temporary pumps, checking generators and utility system supplies and coordinating with contractors on standby to assist in clean-up and power restoration efforts as needed.
“We’re ready,” said Alexandria Mayor Jeffery W. Hall. “We have been following our protocols and doing everything we can to be prepared for this storm. We will open our Emergency Operations Center Saturday morning. We will be actively monitoring the storm through the weekend and will respond to damage or power outages as quickly as we can safely do so.”
Safety was a top concern of Mayor Hall in his meetings with employees. “Everyone needs to remember to be safe,” Hall said. “And by that I mean our citizens and our employees. We all need to be patient and take our time to do things safely. I know when the power goes out people want something done right away. I do, too. But we have to make sure that it can be done safely. We don’t want to put citizens or our employees in harm’s way by rushing.”
Weekend services, such as ATRANS bus service and the Alexandria Zoo, are still scheduled to operate as normal at this time. However, if weather conditions pose a safety threat they will be shut down. Citizens are urged to check the city website or call a facility to ensure it is operating.
Friday’s National Weather Service forecast has Tropical Storm Barry moving through the Alexandria area Saturday afternoon and into Sunday. Wind and rainfall amounts can vary based on the exact track and speed of the storm, with the possibility of tropical storm strength winds as high as 35 mph and rainfall estimates ranging from as low as 4 inches to as high as 15.
Utility Director Michael Marcotte said seven contract utility crews are available to assist in power restoration efforts and that the Traffic Department has pre-positioned barricades along roadways in places that historically flood, such as underpasses. “Those barricades are there so that if the water gets to the point where it is a danger, police or traffic workers can quickly close off the area,” he said. “Ideally people should stay off the roads until after the storm passes, but if you have to be out, please use extra caution and don’t try to drive through high water.”
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 storm-related issues should be reported to the First Call number at (318) 441-6231. Residents are reminded to avoid downed lines as they may still be energized and avoid driving in flooded areas. Also, after the storm has passed residents should exercise extreme caution while driving as crews and equipment may be clearing debris and making repairs along many roads throughout the city.
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