Winter storm leaves more than 110K in Louisiana without power

By David Jacobs | The Center Square

While the temperature was rising above freezing in south Louisiana, things remained “dicey” north of Intestate 10, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Wednesday afternoon.

At least three deaths in Louisiana have been blamed on the winter storm that affected much of the deep South. More than 111,000 homes and businesses were without electricity, according to PowerOutage.US. Thousands of residents lacked running water or were being asked to boil it before use.

“Stay home and be patient, and check on your neighbors,” Edwards asked residents during his monthly radio show.

Edwards said state officials were in the midst of a “staged reopening” of I-10. He said state police had reported working 349 weather-related crashes. No one was killed in the accidents.

Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter, whose city still is recovering from hurricanes that struck last year, pleaded with residents to conserve water, saying the city’s hospitals were “getting to a critical level.” The city’s water facilities were operating at double their normal output in an attempt to restore water pressure after losing it following an unexpected blackout Tuesday night, officials said.

“I’ve spoken with mayors across the state,” Hunter said. “We are not alone.”

All roads that had been closed in southeast Louisiana were open by Wednesday afternoon, according to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. Others remained closed. DOTD posts road closure information at 511la.org and on its 511 smartphone app.

The weather conditions have delayed some of Louisiana’s expected COVID-19 vaccine shipments, Dr. Joseph Kanter with the Louisiana Department of Health said. He suggested anyone with a vaccination appointment to check whether they need to reschedule and said delaying a second dose by a few days would not make the vaccine ineffective.

Every COVID-19 testing site the Louisiana National Guard run except those in the New Orleans region was closed Wednesday, LDH said.