NEW IBERIA, La. — Iberia Parish President Larry Richard and Sheriff Thomas Romero held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to give an update on preparations being made ahead of Hurricane Laura.
Richard said he was worried about strong winds affecting the parish, but was more concerned about the storm surge expected after the hurricane passes over the area.
Richard said he strongly urges residents to evacuate if they are able on Wednesday before the weather gets any worse.
He also strongly urged Iberia Parish residents to evacuate if they live south of Hwy 90 or south of Hwy 14.
Richard said it is important to pay attention to local news for the latest updates on the weather and forecast of the storm.
Richard compared Laura to Hurricane Rita that hit the state 15 years ago saying that if residents had high winds during Rita then they should expect the same amount of winds for this storm.
Richard said the parish expects flooding in low lying areas south of Hwy 90 and 14 as places like Loreauville and Jeanerette tend to flood.
"If you feel you are in a position to move then you should," said Richard. "Weather conditions will not get better until after the hurricane has passed."
Richard said to expect widespread power outages and downed trees as the storm moves through the area.
"We have hurricanes all the time in Iberia Parish, so you are most likely prepared," said Richard. "But please take this storm seriously."
Romero said that he is fully confident in the preparedness among the the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office, the Iberia Parish Government, the Iberia Parish Fire District and the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness in Iberia Parish.
"We need to make sure that we have support from residents of Iberia Parish," Romero said. "Make sure to protect yourself and your family."
Iberia Parish Fire Chief Guy Bonin said that he wanted to reassure residents that the IPFD and the IPSO will be conducting search and rescue operations after the storm has passed. He said they may be called to conduct operations during the storms, but only for serious medical emergencies.
"We will do what is necessary to protect Iberia Parish residents," said Bonin.
You can watch the press conference in full below:
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