Utility companies around Acadiana and Louisiana are preparing for Hurricane Laura to make impact along the Gulf Coast later this week. Cleco and Entergy have both brought in extra line mechanics and are providing tips to residents in the path of Laura.
Cleco - In addition to the company's roughly 500 workers dedicated to Hurricane Laura, Cleco Power has brought in nearly 1,300 distribution line mechanics and vegetation specialists from 11 states. "With a combined work force of 1,800, Cleco is ready for whatever Hurricane Laura brings," said James Lass, director of distribution operations and emergency management.
Forecasters indicate that Hurricane Laura could make landfall between southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana late Wednesday night into early Thursday morning as a Category 3 storm. "If the projected intensity holds, customers should expect high winds, flooding, tree damage and power outages," said Lass. "There is still time for our customers to prepare, and we encourage them to do just that."
Safety tips to follow before, during and after a storm:
· Have flashlights, a battery-powered radio and extra batteries.
· Make a list of important phone numbers and family contact numbers.
· Make sure cell phones and other devices are fully charged.
· Plan for medical or special needs.
· Report power outages by calling 1-800-622-6537 or by texting "OUT" from your cell phone to 25326 (Cleco). To sign up for text message notifications, text "REG" to 25326.
· Operate portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas and plug appliances directly into generators with grounded extension cords. Never plug a generator into a wall outlet.
· Assume all downed power lines are live and stay away. Report downed power lines immediately by calling 1-800-622-6537 and 911.
· If water is rising, turn off electricity at the main breaker, evacuate and stay away until waters have completely receded.
For additional safety information and how Cleco is preparing, follow the company on Facebook @ClecoPower or visit Cleco's Storm Center page at cleco.com/storm-center.
Entergy - Entergy Corporation has assembled a workforce of nearly 7,400 prepared to respond to Hurricane Laura, which is forecast to make landfall near the Texas-Louisiana border late Wednesday or early Thursday as a Category 3 hurricane.
The storm is expected to bring heavy rain, strong winds and coastal flooding to portions of southwest Louisiana and southeastern Texas before it moves north through Louisiana into Arkansas.
While Tropical Storm Marco had minimal impact, customers are encouraged to stay storm ready as Laura heads toward the Gulf Coast. Customers also should continue monitoring local weather alerts and follow the guidance of state and local officials.
Entergy has strategically moved equipment and crews from the path of the storm to allow them to quickly begin restoration work as soon as the storm passes. Additionally, crews have added flood protections for equipment in other areas that could see high water. High-water vehicles, drones, helicopters and airboats have also been secured to assist in restoration efforts.
"While we were fortunate that Marco had limited impact on our systems, customers should keep their guard up as Hurricane Laura, which is predicted to be much stronger, is on the way," said Eli Viamontes, vice president of Entergy utility distribution operations. "Please remain storm ready and take this as seriously as we are. This is expected to be a major hurricane and should be treated as such."
Crews will continue to practice social distancing while in the field due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Entergy asks that customers do the same. For the safety of crews and customers, please stay away from work zones. If there is a need to report a service problem, customers should call 1-800-ENTERGY.
Staying informed before, during and after a tropical system strikes is just as important as making personal storm plans. Here's how customers can stay updated throughout the event:
· Download the Entergy App at entergyapp.com. Customers can use the app to report outages or check on the status of power at their home or business.
· Entergy's View Outages website includes maps that show where outages are located and give information about restoration progress.
· Sign up for text alerts by texting REG to 36778 and have your account number and ZIP code handy. The registration pattern is as follows including spaces: REG (account number) (ZIP code). Once registered, text OUT to 36778 to report an outage. You can also report an outage online as a guest [myentergy.com].
· The Entergy Storm Center website has storm safety, preparation and restoration information that is updated throughout the day.
· Operation: Storm Ready Guide is a free downloadable guide that helps customers plan and prepare for weather emergencies.
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Social media plays an important role in keeping customers informed, and the company places a high priority on updating its social media channels throughout an event. Customers can follow Entergy on Facebook and Twitter.
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