downed tree

Reginald Duhon prepares to work at his home on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Lake Charles, La., after Hurricane Laura moved through the state. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Downed trees and sporadic power outages were the main impacts for parishes on Baton Rouge’s west side following Hurricane Laura’s landfall in southwest Louisiana.

Local emergency officials on the west bank were still monitoring Laura’s far-reaching outer bands Thursday morning because of their potential to bring strong winds, heavy rainfalls and tornados.

“We’re not out of the woods yet,” Pointe Coupee Parish Emergency Preparedness Director Mark Ward said around 10:30 a.m..

Hurricane Laura smashed ashore around 1 a.m. south of Lake Charles, bringing devastating winds to the immediate area and enormous storm surges along the coast.

The storm was downgraded to a category 1 storm Thursday morning as it swept across western Louisiana.

Pointe Coupee saw little damage overnight and into Thursday. Parish crews were mainly responding to clear downed trees on roads, including a tree that fell on a house near New Roads. No one was injured, officials said.

The National Weather Service predicted much of the Baton Rouge metro would see winds up to 50 mph, with the worst weather lasting until Thursday afternoon.

Weather officials issued a flurry of tornado warnings Wednesday afternoon across the capital region, but few led to actual tornadoes forming. None of the tornado warnings issued for Pointe Coupee, West Baton Rouge and Iberville parishes saw confirmation of tornadoes forming or touching down, local officials said.

West Baton Rouge Parish crews on Thursday were similarly responding to downed trees and had sporadic power outages.

The parish's Director of Operations Jason Manola said it likely will take some time to restore power to the entire parish. Utility company officials have said continuing high winds prevent them from sending out crews.

Around 10:30 a.m., Entergy reported some 500 power outages in West Baton Rouge; roughly 800 outages in Iberville Parish; and more than 1,800 in Pointe Coupee Parish.

Manola and other local officials urged people to avoid driving to make room for cleanup and utility workers on roads.

Iberville parish received about an inch of rain overnight and was mostly dealing with downed trees in the area, too. Overall, the overnight impacts of the hurricane were minimal, officials said.

“We got lucky,” said Mark Migliacio, director of operations for Iberville Parish.


Email Youssef Rddad at yrddad@theadvocate.com, and follow him on Twitter @youssefrddad