Mandatory evacuation issued for Lake Charles area ahead of Laura

A look at Laura as of Tuesday around 11 a.m.
A look at Laura as of Tuesday around 11 a.m.(National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 12:08 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Calcasieu officials have issued a mandatory evacuation for the parish ahead of Hurricane Laura.

“We’re now recommending a mandatory evacuation for all of Calcasieu Parish,” Dick Gremillion head of Calcasieu Emergency Preparedness said Tuesday at a briefing. “We’re asking you to either evacuate the area or move to a safer structure. That order would go into place immediately at 11 a.m. today.”

Hurricane Laura is expected to make landfall late Wednesday or early Thursday. Current tracks show it making landfall in Southwest Louisiana or near Southwest Louisiana.

Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter said city buses on Tuesday will take citizens to Burton Coliseum where they will be loaded onto a state-administered bus and taken to a place of safety.

“There will be an intake process, we’re going to make sure we know where our citizens are going,” Hunter said. “Not safe for a shelter to be open in Calcasieu parish. Not advisable to have a shelter in Calcasieu.”

Sheriff Mancuso said jails will be evacuated but law enforcement will have “zero tolerance,” meaning they are not gonna be tolerant of anybody doing any illegal activity.

“We have plenty of room [in jail],” Mancuso said.

As people prepare to evacuate and make plans ahead of Laura, Mancuso said officials are prepared.

“Unlike pandemic where we’re learning [how to deal], we know how to do this [deal with hurricanes],” Mancuso said. “We know how to protect your property.”

Mayor Hunter added Lake Charles has protocols in place.

“Essential personnel will be hunkering down and exit as soon as it’s safe to clear roadways and work with a third party for disaster cleanup. The time of cleanup depends on the storm.”

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