FRANKLIN, La. (KLFY)- St. Mary Parish officials say last time a storm of Hurricane Delta’s intensity made landfall in the parish was Hurricane Lili in 2002, and that storm did a lot of damage.
As Hurricane Delta approaches the parish, they say they’re preparing for a similar storm.
“We’ll get wind impact, we’ll get rain, and then of course anytime you have a hurricane come through, you have the possibility of a tornado dropping out,” director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness in St. Mary Parish David Naquin said.
Naquin says they’re also preparing for several feet of storm surge.
“We always have felt fairly comfortable with a storm surge or rain but not both, and it looks like this time we actually have a pretty good chance of getting both. That’s another concern of ours,” he told News 10.
Another big concern is power.
“We’re going to expect power outages. I don’t see how we can go around that, and the concern with power is the fact that our crews, our electric crews, are spread everywhere,” Naquin said. “They’re in Lake Charles. They’re in Allen Parish. They’re all over, so it’s got a concern.”
Parish officials say they recommend people in low-lying areas evacuate, but they’re worried that coronavirus could have an impact on how many people take that advice.
“Dealing with COVID, we’re afraid our evacuees aren’t going to want to leave because they don’t want to go sit in a shelter somewhere with who knows who. So we feel like a lot of our normal people that might evacuate might decide to stay home,” Naquin said.
Emergency preparedness officials say they’ve closed the Atchafalaya River flood gates as well as the flood gates on the western end of the parish.