Delta drives officials into action

As of mid-day Tuesday, Hurricane Delta's anticipated cone of impact covers the entirety of Louisiana, as well as Mississippi and Alabama. 

In less than 24-hours, Tropical Storm Delta transformed into a Category 4 Hurricane Tuesday, putting everyone on alert that this storm means business.

Although Hurricane Delta’s exact impact is still uncertain, local officials have started working to prepare for the massive storm.

Tangipahoa Parish Government, which has remained prepared throughout this hurricane season, has directed its preparation efforts toward Delta, monitoring it with the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the National Hurricane Center.

“Delta is a strong hurricane, and we expect to be affected with wind, rain and storm surge,” Parish President Robby Miller said. “Our citizens should review their hurricane plans and begin their plans.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards stressed Tuesday that residents need to prepare.

“That storm is coming to Louisiana, somewhere on our coast,” he said, encouraging residents to use this time ahead of the storm to get themselves in the best possible place for when the storm hits.

Entergy began notifying its customers Tuesday afternoon, encouraging them to prepare for potential loss of power.

According to the power company, crews have begun preparing for Hurricane Delta to make landfall in Louisiana on Friday.

Tangipahoa Parish Government opened its self-serve sandbag locations at fire stations throughout the parish Tuesday afternoon.

“We encourage anyone who has had an issue with flash flooding or flooding following extended rain events to please come out and pick up sandbags,” Miller said.

Self-serve sandbag stations are set up at the 8th Ward fire stations on La. 445 and La. 22 east in Bedico, Hammond Baptist Fire Station and Ponchatoula fire stations on La. 22 east and west. The main fire stations in Natalbany, Loranger, Husser, Wilmer, Kentwood and Independence will also have self-service stations.

Miller reminded people to bring a shovel to fill sandbags at the self-serve sites.

On standby

Dennis Crocker, administrator for Tangipahoa Parish Rural Fire District No. 2, sent out an advisory to Task Force 9 department leaders Tuesday morning, alerting them to begin preparations.

“We’re making sure we have everything we need in order,” he said. “We are checking, preparing our equipment. Unfortunately we are getting quite good at this this year.”

The equipment is in order year round, but firefighters use this time to double check and make sure everything is ready, he said.

Some of the task force has not even been back a week from their deployment in Lake Charles.

The parish’s Swiftwater USAR team is checking equipment, boats, high-water vehicles and making sure all equipment is charged and ready to go, Crocker said.

He checked with the fire district's stations Tuesday for sand and sandbags.

Leftover sand from previous sand distributions was replenished and will continue to be replenished as needed, Crocker said.

Ben Husser with Cajun Navy said Tuesday that the volunteer disaster relief group is on standby.

Seventy-two hours out, the Cajun Navy has started running checklists.

“Right now, the biggest thing is notifying all the people to standby, start packing and prepping,” Husser said, adding that they are also checking equipment to make sure it's ready to go.

Once Hurricane Delta is 54 hours away, the Cajun Navy will start looking at possible landing sites and mobilizing, Husser said.

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