Alexandria, La. (August 26, 2020) — As Hurricane Laura approaches an anticipated landfall overnight in southwest Louisiana along the Texas and Louisiana border the City of Alexandria announces the following schedule of closures:
- ATRANS bus service will stop at 2 p.m. today (Wednesday). There will be no bus service Thursday. Service will resume Friday if possible. Watch for further announcements.
- Sandbag distribution will end at 3 p.m. today at the Consolidated City Compound. Self service locations will remain open but unstaffed.
- City offices will close at 3 p.m. today and will be closed Thursday. Operations are expected to resume Friday.
- There will be no regular trash pickup Thursday. Thursday and Friday regular trash pickup will be on Friday.
“This is a major storm and we expect to see significant impact locally,” said Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall. “I urge everyone to take this storm seriously and make preparations. The city has crews ready to respond after the storm has passed. We expect we will have widespread power outages from high winds and we may see some flooding because of heavy rainfall in a short period of time. We have our utility crews and first responders ready to respond as soon as it is safe to do so.”
National Weather Service forecasts indicate Alexandria could get 4-8 inches of rain from Hurricane Laura, which is expected to make landfall as a major hurricane (category 3 or higher with winds of around 120 mph) around 1 a.m. Thursday near the Texas-Louisiana border. The path is expected to take the storm north along the state border and Alexandria is expected to get strong sustained tropical storm force winds in excess of 50 mph and gusts of hurricane strength winds of 75 mph or more. The strongest impact is expected to be felt along the line west of I-49, which includes the city.
City workers have inspected pumps and cleared drainage areas to minimize local flooding. Residents are asked not to put any trash or debris at the curb until after the storm has passed to prevent the possibility of clogging storm drains.
Regarding shelters, Utility System Director Michael Marcotte reminds residents that shelter procedures will be very different due to COVID-19 concerns and social distancing requirements. “Sheltering this season will not look like it has in the past,” Marcotte said. “Residents who live in vulnerable areas, and particularly those in mobile homes and low-lying flood-prone areas, should make arrangements for sheltering through a friend or relative as part of their personal plan.” Residents in flood-prone areas are also encouraged to park vehicles on higher ground in order to be able to evacuate quickly if water starts rising.
Marcotte also reminds residents that if power outages occur as a result of the storm, customers may report outages, downed trees and other storm damage online at any time through the AlexConnects app. During the day Thursday, residents may report power outages, downed trees and other storm issues by calling 318-441-6231. After hours, residents should call (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.