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Gov. Edwards: federal disaster declaration for Hurricane Sally has been approved

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Posted at 12:33 PM, Sep 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-14 16:05:01-04

BATON ROUGE, La. — Gov. John Bel Edwards held a media briefing Monday about the state's preparations for and response to Hurricane Sally, which is expected to make landfall as a Category 2 in the Southeastern part of Louisiana later this week.

Edwards said that the Federal Disaster Emergency Declaration that he requested on Sunday has been approved by President Donald Trump, which will provide more federal aid to the state for areas that will be impacted by the storm.

Edwards also said that he spoke with Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves and is prepared to help Mississippi depending on where the storm makes landfall. He said the governors spoke about non-congregant shelters and the lessons learned about responding to storms during the pandemic.

Edwards said that the Federal Emergency Disaster Agency will be bringing in additional resources to Louisiana ahead of Hurricane Sally but will not be removing resources brought in for Hurricane Laura.

He added that the state will continue to work on recovery from Laura as they prepare for Sally and will do so without interruptions.

Edwards said that the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness has completed several requests for supplies ahead of Sally and will coordinate mandatory evacuation orders in impacted areas as needed.

He said that about 4,800 Lousiana National Guard members remain active for both Laura and Sally along with 141 boat crews from the State Fire Marshal's Office and 70 boat crews from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries are ready.

Edwards said that those who remain in non-congregant shelters hotels in Southeast Louisiana from Laura should stay put at those hotels as the state will make sure they will be taken care of there. They should not evacuate because of Hurricane Sally.

As of Monday morning, 12,758 residents remain in shelters across the state with about 12,000 of them in hotels in New Orleans. There are 5,300 that still remain in non-congregant shelters in Texas.

The governor urged the public to continue monitoring local news outlets for weather updates and follow guidance from local officials.

He said his office will provide updates about severe weather by texting 'SALLY' to 67283 and sign up for phone calls by going to Smart911. Information on road closures can be found at 511LA.org.

Tropical Storm Sally was officially upgraded to a hurricane Monday morning. At 11 a.m., the storm was officially upgraded to a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds around 85 mph.

Hurricane Sally is expected to make landfall either Tuesday morning or Wednesday near the Southeastern coast of the state.

Several parts of the state remain inside the storm's forecast cone, including much of the New Orleans metro area as well as Plaquemines, St. Bernard and St. Tammany Parishes.

The Eastern coast of the state from the mouth of Mississippi to about Ocean Springs could be seeing a 7-11 ft storm surge, with 4-6 ft along Lake Pontchartrain, and even a 4-7 ft surge stretching into the Mobile Bay.

Sally also appears to be moving slowly as it makes its way to the coast, so heavy rains and flash flooding are possible east of the center.

The area between the Louisiana/Mississippi border could be looking at around 10-15" of rain.

On Saturday, the governor declared a State of Emergency in advance of Tropical Storm Sally. Read more here.

Another press conference is expected to be held on Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 2 p.m.

The press briefing from Monday can be viewed below:

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