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Vermilion Parish residents brace for possible Hurricane Laura impact

Posted at 9:45 PM, Aug 25, 2020

Preparation has beefed up in Vermilion Parish with the help of the National Guard and its additional resources.

More than 100 soldiers are stationed at Abbeville High School where they can easily be deployed to flood prone areas. Twenty-two high water vehicles and six boats are on standby in the parking lot.

Captain Michael Switzer said the school building also allows them to practice good social distancing. Other units of the National Guard are also preparing in different parishes along the coastline.

Meanwhile, many residents in Vermilion Parish agree Hurricane Laura has similarities to another hurricane that devastated communities 15 years ago. Yet plenty of them are still choosing to stay.

Almost everyone you stop in Erath can remember the day Hurricane Rita unleashed its wrath in September 2005, but people like Jason Segura have no problem staying planted.

“I’m used to this,” Segura said. “It’s the nature of the beast. If you want to live here, it’s what you live with.”

Just on the other side of the tracks people from different cities and even parishes spent part of their day filling sand bags across from city hall. Laura is expected to make landfall as a Category 3 and could bring a storm surge of up to 13 feet.

Erath High School Principal Marc Turner decided to lift his furniture up as much as possible and head to his family’s home further up north. He does not want to take any chances after witnessing what Rita did to his hometown in 2005.

“I think people know exactly what to expect so they know how to prepare for it. There’s a level of anxiousness,” Turner said.

Erath High School is one of five schools in Vermilion Parish to that will be testing their flood walls again. They were installed with pumps which could rake in 3,100 gallons per minute, according to facilities manager Kerry Richard. He said generators have also been fueled up in case of a power outage.

Vermilion Parish has called for a voluntary evacuation of areas south of Gueydan, south of LA HWY 35, west of Vermilion River, south of Abbeville, below LA HWY 14 in the Erath and Delcambre areas, trailers and low lying areas which are prone to flooding.

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