Governor urges preparation, not panic as Harvey's impact on La. remains unclear

LAKE CHARLES, LA (WAFB) - Governor John Bel Edwards visited southwest Louisiana ahead of Hurricane Harvey Friday afternoon to update the public on the latest details associated with the storm and how it could impact our state.

The news conference started around 1:30 p.m. Friday in Lake Charles as southeast Texas braced for impact for the life-threatening storm. "Texas is about to have a very significant disaster," said FEMA administrator, Brock Long.

It's no secret that Hurricane Harvey, a major category 4 storm, promises to pack quite the punch for our neighbors to the west. "We know that Texas is in store for a big storm that's going to be devastating," said Edwards.

Most of the day Friday, the mammoth of a storm churned in the Gulf, locked on Corpus Cristi. Forecasts show the hurricane made landfall in Rockport, pummeling the Texas coast. What happens next, as far as local impact, remains unclear.

"We don't know whether the storm will sit there and stall out and dissipate over time or whether it will move north," Edwards said. "The worst case scenario is it goes back into the Gulf, gets over that 90 degree water and restrengthens and comes to Louisiana."

Edwards says officials are already staging resources across the state. As information about the storm's track changes by the hour, he encourages people to stay close to the television for updates. "We have to be patient, and we have to be disciplined and I'm asking people in Louisiana to stay abreast of the latest information," said Edwards.

Several sandbag locations in the Baton Rouge area are in play and mandatory evacuations have already been made just to the southwest in Cameron Parish.

While Edwards does not want folks to panic, the governor says it is equally important that Harvey is taken seriously. "The greatest risk we have is for complacency and people to not pay attention and think that this thing is over prematurely," Edwards added.

Following the news conference, the governor met with the Calcasieu Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness officials as they get ready to deal with the effects of the storm.

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