Local officials discuss preparations ahead of potential hurricane

Monroe, West Monroe and Ouachita Parish are taking the necessary steps to stay ahead of this tropical development expected to smash the Louisiana coast. (Source: KNOE)

OUACHITA PARISH, La. (KNOE) - Monroe, West Monroe and Ouachita Parish are taking the necessary steps to stay ahead of this tropical development expected to smash the Louisiana coast.

Ouachita Parish Police Jury President Shane Smiley signed a state of emergency Wednesday afternoon in case any damage is done here, and as evacuees prepare to seek shelter around our area.

"That's why we signed that emergency declaration. We needed to have that in place before we can accept people who are being sheltered here in Ouachita Parish," said Smiley.

West Monroe will house around 250 evacuees from Plaquemines Parish starting around 6 a.m. Thursday morning.

Monroe hasn't exercised their point-to-point plan to house evacuees just yet, but they are prepared to take on people from Terrebone, St. John the Baptist and LaFouche parishes if necessary.

"Not all of the storms that occur are the same in terms of how many people get up here, but we're ready from a communication standpoint to communicate to the public what's going on," said Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo.

Mayo says all pump stations in the city are working, but in the event of potential flooding, he says people will need to take caution.

"We do ask our citizens to make sure they remove any type of debris that may be in their front yard or in their ditches to make sure those culverts are not covered up or stopped up where the water can't flow. That is very, very important," said Mayo.

Mayo, along with other local leaders, will continue to monitor the storm system over the next few days.

"Our public employees will be out there as always, they work extremely hard, but we also need the community to help us as well," said Mayo.