St. Landry Parish preps ahead of severe weather

Posted at 12:55 AM, Mar 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-23 02:16:48-04

OPELOUSAS, L.a. — Heavy rain pummelled many places across Acadiana and St. Landry Parish on Tuesday, but at the Yambilee building in Opelousas, those on the first line of duty when it comes to storm preparations and clean-up told KATC there's more to it than meets the eye.

Lionel Rubin and Matt James work as heavy equipment operators for St. Landry Parish Government.

"We got our equipment ready, and we got our rain gear, and we got all our safety measures for when we go out," Rubin told KATC.

"We're here on call until the storm passes," James said.

On severe weather days like these, they say their most frequent work orders are for trees down and floods.

Workers told KATC they can expect anywhere from 2 to 5 calls a day — and while this number may not seem like much, depending on the task at hand and its size, it can be a lot to handle.

"If you don't have to get out in this type of weather please stay in so you can be safe, your family can be safe, and we can be safe," Rubin said.

But the storm prep doesn't end there.

"I've been up since 4 this morning," said excavator operator for the parish, Dustin LaFleur. "I had to go to Sunset to take care of a tree."

LaFleur told KATC he wears many hats, but for part of his shift today, he was in the kitchen cooking for the rest of the crew — more than 20 people. As for why he does it?

"Well, it gives people, you know, something to look forward to," LaFleur said. "You know, step out of the rain, take off your boots, come get a hot plate, you know?"

While the bulk of Tuesday's severe weather may have passed through the parish, those with public works want the public to remain alert as hazards can still appear after the fact — especially as hurricane season approaches.

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