BATON ROUGE, La. — Gov. John Bel Edwards held a media briefing on the state's preparations and response to Hurricane Zeta after hosting a Unified Command Group meeting Wednesday.
The governor said that Hurricane Zeta is at Louisiana's doorstep and weather conditions are deteriorating rapidly in the storm's path. He advised everyone in the path of the storm to immediately get where they want to ride out the storm for Wednesday night.
Edwards said he appreciated President Donald Trump from approving the request for a disaster declaration that was granted on Tuesday ahead of Zeta making landfall on Wednesday.
Zeta is now expected to make landfall late Wedensday afternoon as a Category 2 hurricane near the Lafourche and LaSalle Parish lines.
Edwards said that while Zeta is expected to mostly be a wind event, it will still bring heavy rain bands and potential flooding to portions of Southeast Louisiana.
The governor said that heavy damage is expected in the greater New Orleans area.
Edwards said he has met with New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell and believes that the city, as well as the southeast region overall, is well prepared for this storm.
The governor said that one good thing about this storm is its forward speed, which means it should pass through the state relatively quickly.
Edwards said storm surge is expected along the coast of Southeastern Louisiana though it is expected to be less than some of the other recent storm that have hit the state. He said that it should still be considered life-threatening storm surge.
The governor said that 5 - 8 feet of storm surge is expected near Port Fourchon and 4 - 6 feet of storm surge is expected from Morgan City to Port Fourchon.
Edwards also said that there will be an elevated risk of tornadoes forming in the Southeast region Wednesday night.
He urged residents to have their phones charged up ahead of time so that they can get weather alerts.
Edwards said that mandatory evacuations have been ordered for parts of Jefferson Parish, Grand Isle and Lafourche Parish.
He said that voluntary evacuations have been ordered for parts of Orleans, Lafourche and Plaquemines Parishes.
The governor said that 1,500 Louisiana National Guardsmen have been activated and are ready to respond to the storm's aftermath on Thursday.
He added that because the hurricane should move quickly through the area, the state can begin its damage assessments, search and rescue and power restoration efforts by early Thursday morning.
Edwards said that 689 flood gates across the Southeastern coast are being monitored, and that 290 of those gates are now closed.
He said that because this storm is expected to be a major wind event, those in Southeast Louisiana especially on the eastern side should expect power outages that could be extensive.
Edwards said that more than 5,000 linemen have been propositioned in the area ahead of the storm and that more could be requested from Texas if they are needed.
He added that the state is also making preparations in case widespread power outages in the southeast region may extend to Election Day, Nov. 3 and disrupt poling locations.
He said that many state offices have closed as of noon on Wednesday and several will remain closed in the Southeast region.
Edwards said that sheltering options are available for residents who may need them after the storm passes.
He advised residents to visit www.GetAGamePlan.org, call 211 or text LASHELTER to 898-211 for more details.
He also advised motorists to check 511LA.org for road closures.
The press briefing from Wednesday can be watched below:
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