As Tropical Storm Barry moves towards Louisiana, East Baton Rouge officials say they're staffing up and they encouraged citizens to prepare for the storm too.
Local law enforcement officers will be on standby for longer shifts with high-water vehicles on hand. Public works crews will continue to supply sandbags, check levees and clear ditches.
Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome signed and filed an emergency declaration, which she said ensures outside support for citizens if parish resources are not enough.
"I want to ensure it is clear that we have not reached that part, however filing that emergency declaration is continuing in our proactive approach in protecting our citizens," Broome said.
Multiple officials mentioned the major flooding that happened in 2016 and lessons they learned from that experience. Broome said she has a 'heightened sensitivity' to flooding issues because she was personally impacted three years ago.
Tropical Storm Barry is forecast to make landfall as Category 1 hurricane on Saturday around 7 a.m. The storm is forecast to bring 12 to 15 inches of rain to the parish over the next several days, Broome said.
All Baton Rouge police officers were placed on standby Wednesday. They will work 12 hour shifts with high-water vehicles starting Friday.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul said officers and deputies will be shutting down roads before they flood. He implored drivers to not go around them. More than 1,000 local officers will be working this weekend on additional patrols at locations like gun shops, pawn shops and places with ATMS.
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Multiple other law enforcement leaders asked residents to stay off the road as much as possible once the rain starts.
Broome encouraged residents to get a game plan and use sandbags as needed. Those sandbags will be available until it is unsafe for crews to be on the road, Broome said. The 311 call center will maintain 24 hour operations.
"It is never too early to prepare," Broome said.
Baton Rouge officials are preparing for possible excessive rainfall later this week and into the weekend as forecasts continue to predict the …
Other parish officials detailed what they have been doing ahead of the storm from clearing ditches to checking levees.
"There's still time to prepare," Broome said. "There's still time to protect yourself, your family and your pets. As you know, this weather event is not written in stone. I do not want our community to be fearful, but I do want our community to be prepared."
Residents were also asked to use call numbers appropriately: In cases of a life-threatening emergency, call 911. For parish inquiries, call 311. For general questions or information, call 211.
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