City of Alexandria preparing for possible tropical storm or hurricane

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ALEXANDRIA, La. (City of Alexandria) - Current forecasts from the National Weather Service indicate a potential tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane is expected to form in the Gulf of Mexico with possible landfall this weekend along the Louisiana coast. Most models show the storm approaching central Louisiana Friday afternoon with the strongest impacts expected on Saturday and Sunday. Rainfall projections range from 7-10 inches with heavier amounts possible. The city encourages residents to make preparations now to be ready for the storm.

Jarrod Brown cleans out a drain at the intersection of Hynson Street and Texas Avenue Wednesday. City of Alexandria workers cleaned drains and made preparations for an anticipated hurricane forecast to move through Alexandria this weekend. | Photo Source: City of Alexandria / Jim Smilie

“The safety of our citizens is our number one priority,” stated Alexandria Mayor Jeffery W. Hall. “We won’t know exactly where the storm will go or how strong it will be until shortly before 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.”

The National Weather Service is predicting sustained tropical storm force winds in excess of 35 mph for the Alexandria area. Therefore, residents are urged to secure any loose items on their property and take down hanging plants that could be affected by high wind gusts. Those who live in areas where rising water is an issue during heavy rains should also take precautions.

Due to the potential for flooding, Utility Director Michael Marcotte said the city will have free sandbags available for Alexandria residents starting Thursday morning. Elderly and infirm residents may obtain pre-made sandbags from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Thursday at the City Compound, located at 2021 Industrial Park Road. Residents must show a driver’s license or current utility bill as proof of residence and there is a 10 bag maximum per household.

Three self-service locations will also be available for residents to get sandbags. The self-service locations will be open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Thursday. A driver’s license or current utility bill will be required as proof of residence and there is a 10 bag maximum per household. Self-service locations are:
•Bringhurst Park, in the parking area between Bringhurst Field and the Alexandria Zoo on Babe Ruth Drive
•Cheatham Park, in the parking lot across from Peabody Magnet High School on Jones Avenue
•Johnny Downs Complex, in the front parking lot off of La. Highway 28 West.

RELATED: Storm information, preparations, local closures

Marcotte added city crews are actively making preparations throughout the city ensuring drains are clear, removing debris and stocking sandbag supplies. “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 storms last month, Marcotte asked that anyone who has tree limbs or 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 would appreciate if residents can hold what they have now and we can pick it up after this storm has passed. We really appreciate everyone’s help on this.”

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 many roads throughout the city.

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