State of Emergency declared for Ouachita Parish ahead of potential hurricane

The cone (left) shows the probable path of the storm center but does not show the size of the storm. The storm is expected to make landfall as a hurricane. The right side shows the potential severity of tropical force winds. / Source: National Hurricane Center
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OUACHITA PARISH, La. (KNOE) - Get the latest updates on Tropical Storm Barry here

Ouachita Parish Police Jury President Shane Smiley has declared a state of emergency in Ouachita Parish ahead of a potential hurricane making landfall in Louisiana later this week.

Smiley said he signed the declaration around 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

The latest forecasts for Potential Tropical Cyclone #2 predict it will become Hurricane Barry and make landfall in Louisiana by Saturday. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), PTC #2 is expected to become Tropical Depression by Thursday, Tropical Storm Barry by Thursday night, and a Category 1 hurricane Friday.

Landfall is expected Saturday, potentially in southwest and south-central Louisiana and there's a chance that Ouachita Parish will be on the more severe side of the storm. The strongest winds tend to be on the right side of the storm because of the storm's counter-clockwise rotation and northern movement, as shown in this graphic.

The emergency declaration allows local officials to start the process of preparing for the storm.

Meanwhile, in Monroe, Mayor Jamie Mayo says sandbags will be available starting at 12:00 pm (NOON) tomorrow at the four recreation centers: Emily P Robinson, Marbles, Benoit, and Saul Adler. The city is going to provide shovels and, as of now, there’s no limit on bags.

Local entities are also prepared to take evacuees from south Louisiana, should the need arise. Monroe is partnered to take people from Terrebonne, Lafourche, and St. John the Baptist Parishes. West Monroe is the designated city for evacuees from Plaquemines and Iberia Parishes. Mandatory evacuations have already been ordered for Plaquemines Parish.

The city of West Monroe says:

"Per an agreement with the City of West Monroe and Plaquemines Parish Government, the City of West Monroe will provide shelter for up to 250 Plaquemines Parish residents. These evacuees will be housed at The Rec at Seventh Square, located at 1802 N. 7th Street. Evacuees are expected to arrive in West Monroe sometime on Thursday, July 11. Beginning on Thursday, July 11, The Rec will be closed to the general public until further notice. No donations or volunteers are needed at this time."