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State leaders activate crisis response team to monitor weather conditions

GOHSEP activates Crisis Action Team in preparation for severe winter weather (Source: WAFB) GOHSEP activates Crisis Action Team in preparation for severe winter weather (Source: WAFB)
GOHSEP activates Crisis Action Team in preparation for severe winter weather (Source: WAFB) GOHSEP activates Crisis Action Team in preparation for severe winter weather (Source: WAFB)
GOHSEP activates Crisis Action Team in preparation for severe winter weather (Source: WAFB) GOHSEP activates Crisis Action Team in preparation for severe winter weather (Source: WAFB)
GOHSEP activates Crisis Action Team in preparation for severe winter weather (Source: WAFB) GOHSEP activates Crisis Action Team in preparation for severe winter weather (Source: WAFB)
GOHSEP activates Crisis Action Team in preparation for severe winter weather (Source: WAFB) GOHSEP activates Crisis Action Team in preparation for severe winter weather (Source: WAFB)
(WAFB) -

The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) activated its Crisis Action Team Tuesday to help respond to any emergencies that might come due to predicted icy weather conditions. Officials say they are keeping a close eye on road conditions and have resources on standby.

State work crews bundled up and moved into action well before noon. They loaded bags of salt onto trucks headed to staging areas across the state. Rodney Mallet with the Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) says the state has approximately 800,000 pounds of salt ready to roll.

“We have crews working 24/7. We have all the salt here, all the gear out,” Mallet said.

Salt trucks are being loaded at the foot of both Mississippi River bridges in Baton Rouge. Mallet says crews will work to keep all bridges open for as long as possible, but the old bridge, which connects Highway 190, is the priority.

“For one thing, you don't have to use as many resources to keep it open, whereas the Mississippi River Bridge over 1-10 is wider, longer, and the approach and exits are both elevated, so you're going to have a lot more area to try to keep open,” Mallet said.

At GOHSEP, a Crisis Action Team is also monitoring state road closures and talking to parish emergency operation centers to dispatch whatever resources might be necessary. Director James Waskom says once the wintry mix passes is when the crisis crew really gets to work. “Our busiest time will probably be when the thaw comes. That's when we start getting resource requests for water and things of that nature with the pipes frozen,” Waskom said.

The Crisis Action Team also juggles calls regarding power outages, which can be a big problem with temperatures expected to dip into the teens. But for now, the roads are their main concern. State leaders are urging those who do not have to report to work, to stay put.

“If you don't have to get on the roads, don't go anywhere,” Waskom said.

If you have an emergency and must leave your house, be sure to first check for road closures. Click here for an updated list.

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