Truckers Urged to Avoid Stretch of I-10 in Louisiana as “Unsurvivable” Storm Surge Expected
Baton Rouge, LA – Truckers are urged the avoid the path of now-Category 4 Hurricane Laura as it prepares to make landfall during the early morning hours on Thursday.
Forecasters are calling the storm surge from Hurricane Laura “unsurvivable.”
“’Unsurvivable’ is not a word that we like to use,” National Weather Service meteorologist Ben Schott said. “It’s one I’ve never used before.”
A storm surge is an abnormal rise of water as a result of an intense storm — in this case, Hurricane Laura.
The surge for south Louisiana is expected to be as high as 20 feet in addition to 145 mile per hour winds, with wind gusts of 170 mph.
Surge levels that high have not been seen since Hurricane Audrey in 1957, which also affected Cameron Parish, LA and claimed at least 416 lives.
“A lot of structures are going to be leveled,” Schott predicted. “Trees in large swaths are going to be down. Power lines down. There are going to be neighborhoods… that are going to be unrecognizable.”
Additionally, Louisiana Department of Transportation (LADOT) Secretary Shawn Wilson said Interstate 10 near Lake Charles was “almost certain” to be overtaken by water.
LADOT recommends motorists use northbound US 61 or I-55 to reach I-20 west to avoid severe weather expected on I-10 related to Hurricane Laura in the western part of the state.
UPDATED: The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development recommends motorists use northbound US 61 or I-55 to reach I-20 west to avoid severe weather expected on I-10 related to #HurricaneLaura in the western part of the state. pic.twitter.com/ur4FejGTBE
— Louisiana DOTD (@La_DOTD) August 26, 2020
According to the Louisiana State Police, the state’s southern border is “already feeling and seeing the effects as water levels rise.”
In fact, State Highway 1, south of the Leon Theriot flood gate in Golden Meadow, is already under water as of Wednesday afternoon.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards conveyed the seriousness of the storm to residents.
“In my five years as governor I don’t think I’ve ever had a press conference where I’m trying to convey the sense of urgency I’m trying to convey right now,” the governor stated.
According to local outlet The Advocate, over 3,000 National Guard troops were preparing for search and rescue.
In addition, the federal government has “positioned almost a million bottles of water and hundreds of thousands of meals ready to eat near the storm’s path.”
Earlier this week in response to the expected devastation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a Regional Emergency Declaration for Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
As part of the Declaration, the FMCSA suspended certain Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) including hours of service (HOS) rules for carriers involved in direct relief assistance.
From the National Weather Service: “… WINDS INCREASING AS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS HURRICANE LAURA TAKES AIM AT THE NW GULF COAST… …CATASTROPHIC STORM SURGE, EXTREME WINDS, AND FLASH FLOODING EXPECTED ALONG THE NW GULF COAST TONIGHT…” Flooded road? Turn Around. Don’t Drown. pic.twitter.com/qPSOUxDG7O
— FMCSA (@FMCSA) August 27, 2020
“This Declaration addresses the emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of supplies, goods, equipment, fuel and persons and provides necessary relief,” the FMCSA said.
Transportation Nation Network will continue to closely track the storm.