Officials offer safety advice ahead of expected severe weather

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OUACHITA PARISH, La. (KNOE) - Officials are encouraging people to be safe ahead of any bad weather Friday night.

(Source: KNOE)

Ouachita Parish Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness director Neal Brown says the weather that will be passing through can bring heavy rain, possibly hail and winds up to 70 miles per hour.

“We've had a good warning here," Brown says. "Conditions are perfect for tornadoes, which we are in a very high risk of tornadoes during that same time."

Brown is reminding everyone the do's and don’ts before the weather rolls into town. "Number one, stay out of the weather. Stay out of the rain. Never drive through low-standing water ever."

Once home, Brown encourages you to stay on the lowest level of your home and to stay away from windows. "Flying debris hurts more people in a tornado than the tornado itself. Flying debris will get people. If you're in your vehicle, buckle your seatbelt. Stay in your car. Do not park under an overpass. They will fall."

The storm is expected to pass through northeast Louisiana throughout the night, which makes it more dangerous.

"These overnight severe weather events are the most dangerous, because people go to sleep, and a lot of times, they are not aware that a tornado warning or a severe thunderstorm warning has been issued," says meteorologist Bruce Jones, with Midland Radio Corp.

Jones says it's important to have a phone or weather radio nearby that can alert you of any severe thunderstorm or tornado nearby.

"We realized it's going to be even stronger than what we had anticipated,” Jones says. “So, it's very important for everyone to stay tuned. Watch the weather forecast. If there's any night of the year you should stay up and watch tv, it's probably tonight."

You can buy a weather radio at most stores.

You can also stay up-to-date with your KNOE News and Weather apps on your phone as well.