ALEXANDRIA, La. (WNTZ) — Forecasts from the National Weather Service indicate a potential hurricane could strike the Louisiana coastline Sunday evening. Currently classified as Tropical Depression 9, the storm is projected to strengthen into Tropical Storm Ida sometime today and could be a strong Category 2 (96-110 m.p.h. winds) at landfall Sunday night.
“The safety of our citizens is our primary concern,” said Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall. “Based on current information we expect that we will be impacted by rain and high winds Sunday and Monday. Our crews are working now to get ready, and we encourage residents to take the precautions to prepare for the possibility of having a strong hurricane passing through or very close to Alexandria.”
To help residents preare, the City will have free self-serve sandbag locations throughout town starting Friday afternoon. Self-service locations will open at 2 p.m. Friday at Brighurst Field, Cheatham Park, Frank O. Hunter Park and the MPAT Park next to the Rapides Parish 911 center in Martin Park. Elderly and special needs residents may pickup free pre-filled sandbags from the city’s Consolidated Compound at 2021 Industrial Park Road from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Saturday. There is a limit of 10 bags per car and workers will be available to load the sandbags for residents in a drive-thru setting.
City workers are working to clear drains and pick up tree debris ahead of the storm. Officials ask residents to refrain from placing any additional green waste, furniture or debris at the curb this week as it could clog storm drains. Household garbage pickup will proceed as scheduled on Friday.
As part of basic preparations, residents should secure loose items that could be blown in the wind, have working flashlights, ensure cell phone batteries are charged and have a way to monitor weather conditions during the storm. Also, officials recommend people in low-lying, flood-prone areas keep fueled up vehicles on high ground accessible to an evacuation route should flooding occur.
Alexandria residents may report power outages online through the AlexConnects app. To report downed wires, poles, and other similar issues residents should call the Electric Distribution Department at (318) 473-1301.