NEW IBERIA, La — Believe it or not we are less than 30 days from the start of the 2018 hurricane season. And Iberia Parish officials aren’t wasting any time getting ready.
Reviewing its emergency preparedness plan with state leaders on Wednesday, Emergency Preparedness officer Prescott Marshall says the Parish has been fortunate over the last several years.
"We’re very blessed. It’s been ten years since we’ve had a damaging hurricane in Iberia Parish," Marshall said. "But that also means it’s a challenge to get everyone to keep their head in the game."
At the top of the parish’s game plan: coordinating law enforcement with state and local emergency personnel.
Also at the top of the list: impressing upon people the need to have a game plan.
"You can’t wait ’til 24 hours out," Marshall said. "What if you have pets? What if you have family members with medical special needs? What if if you have elderly parents? You can’t necessarily pick up and leave at a moment’s notice with them."
Roger Erickson works for the National Weather Service in lake Charles. He believes that one of the biggest lessons learned from Hurricane Harvey last year was that people need to take rainfall totals seriously.
"The biggest thing related to Harvey for us was we were advertising big rain forecast numbers," Erickson said. "And even though we were advertising really big rain fall totals, there wasn’t a lot of action on the community to take it seriously enough to get out."
KATC-TV3 meteorologist Rob Perillo says it’s still too early to tell how bad this hurricane season will be.
"I can tell you that I have no idea how it’s going to pan out between last year and this year," Perillo said. "But if hurricane season were starting today, based on the metrics that we know right now, we think it would be a continuation of the 2017 season.