UPDATES: Severe weather expected in Louisiana this afternoon
-- Gonzales City Hall clat 4:15 p.m.
-- A tornado watch has been issued for parts of Louisiana and Mississippi until 10 p.m.
-- Based on the latest weather information from the Office of Emergency Preparedness, all Iberville Parish Public Schools will dismiss 30 minutes early this afternoon. St. John School in Plaquemine will follow the Iberville Parish Public School System's decision to dismiss early.
-- St. Amant High School after-school activities have been canceled due to anticipated weather issues: After-school detention, high school musical practice, freshman and JV football games vs. Dutchtown, volleyball game vs. Parkview, and girls basketball scrimmage at Donaldsonville.
-- Around noon, news outlets published video clips of possible tornado activity near the Louisiana and Texas state line. The video was taken in Orange County, Texas, on Interstate 10.
-- The FEMA Disaster Recovery Center at 1112 East Ascension Complex in Gonzales will close at 1 p.m. due to the weather threat. The Springfield location will close as well.
-- Ascension Catholic Diocesan Regional School in Donaldsonville will dismiss at 1:30 p.m. due to the severe weather threat. All after-school activities have been canceled.
-- Ascension Parish public schools have not made an announcement as of 1:30 p.m.
Louisiana is preparing for heavy rainfall and severe weather this afternoon.
A tornado watch has been issued for the Lake Charles and Lafayette areas, and forecasters expect effects to reach the Baton Rouge area.
A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for tornadoes and/or damaging winds in and around the watch area.
A slight to enhanced risk of severe weather and marginal risk of flooding rainfall has been forecast for southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi.
The expected time frame is after noon through midnight Oct. 27, as activity moves east of Mississippi.
Louisiana State Police released the following safety tips:
-- Stay where you are: Avoid driving in heavy storms unless necessary. Often, injuries and deaths occur during and in the aftermath of storms. Sightseers impeding roadways cause obstacles for emergency personnel responding to those in need.
-- If you must drive, slow down – Decrease your vehicle speed during inclement weather to avoid hydroplaning and to account for increased stopping time. Periods of heavy rain may necessitate traveling at speeds below the posted speed limits.
-- Be cautious of high winds – Windy conditions adversely affect all vehicles, particularly high-profile vehicles, such as buses and trucks, as well as smaller vehicles such as motorcycles. Gusty wind makes driving difficult, especially when it is rapidly changing in speed and direction.
-- Pay attention: You may come upon an intersection that is no longer controlled by a functioning traffic control device. If a law enforcement officer is directing traffic, follow his directions. Otherwise, treat the intersection as you would treat an intersection governed by a four-way stop sign. Refrain from utilizing cell phones, or other devices, which further distract drivers.
-- Road closures and detours can be found using the Louisiana Traveler Information System through several different methods including the 511 phone system, www.511la.org, LA DOTD Twitter accounts, and the “Louisiana 511” smartphone application.
-- Depending on the method utilized, the traveler information system allows access to valuable resources such as current road reports on crashes, weather-related closures, and construction as well as real time traffic camera views.