Gov. Edwards declares state of emergency due to wintery conditions

Halen Doughty

Governor John Bel Edwards issued an Emergency Declaration due to freezing precipitation and low temperatures across the state. State agencies including the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and the Department of Transportation (DOTD) have been activated in response to the emergency.

“The weather conditions are extremely dangerous, and while it may be tempting to venture outside, it is critical that everyone stay off the frozen highways and streets and heed all state and local warnings in order to be safe,” said Edwards. “Parts of all major interstates in Louisiana have closed because of the icy conditions and unfortunately, one life has already been claimed by this extreme weather. Our state Crisis Action Team and DOTD have been working around the clock responding to emergencies, salting roadways and providing resources to those who need assistance. Until the freezing temperatures lift, I urge everyone to take the necessary precautions, remember to check on people, pets and pipes, and stay warm and remain patient.”

The freezing precipitation has caused major road closures throughout Louisiana. DOTD began salting roadways Tuesday morning in southern districts, and those operations have continued throughout the day. Visit for more updates on roadways and other important travel information.

“The disruption and danger of extreme weather conditions like we are experiencing cannot be underestimated” said Dr. Shawn Wilson, DOTD Secretary. “In addition to major closings of interstates across Louisiana, we have seen hundreds of vehicle accidents, including 18-wheeler accidents and even a death. Drivers should heed our call to stay put until the all clear is issued.”

More than 1,200 DOTD employees have been deployed for 24 hour operations in response to the weather event. The DOTD website typically gets around 2,500 hits per day, but the hazardous driving conditions have driven up traffic on the site with more than 134,000 hits.

One and a half million pounds of salt has been used on roadways in the state. Five airports have been closed.

GOHSEP activated its Crisis Action Team on Tuesday. The State Fire Marshal’s Office reminds the public to use caution when operating space heaters or any other alternative heating source in their homes. Homeowners should follow the “three-foot rule” and keep flammable materials at least three feet away from the heat source. Ovens and open flame sources like candles should never be used to heat a home.

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