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Parish prepares for Ida

Friday, August 27, 2021
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Shown is a Friday afternoon infographic about Hurricane Ida from the National Weather Service office in Shreveport.

Lincoln Parish responding agencies say they’ll be ready for whatever Hurricane Ida may send this way.

“We are preparing, we are fueling, we are watching the weather,” Ruston Public Works Director John Freeman said Friday.

Ida became a hurricane shortly after midday Friday. It’s expected to be a Category 3 storm by the time it makes landfall on the Louisiana Gulf Coast sometime Sunday afternoon — 16 years to the day since Hurricane Katrina hit.

Category 3 storms pack winds between 111-129 mph.

Brandon Thorne, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Shreveport office, said Lincoln Parish could begin to see some of Ida’s feeder bands late Sunday evening, depending on the storm’s track once it comes ashore.

The potential for rainfall should diminish by Monday night, according to the NWS forecast issued Friday. By the time the remnant of Ida gets to North Louisiana — if it does — the system will be at most a tropical storm.

But if Ida hooks an eastward turn after making landfall, Lincoln Parish may see nothing.

“Sound like it may go into the southeastern part of the state and may not affect us at all,” Lincoln Parish Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Kip Franklin said Friday.

None of the local evacuee shelters will be open because of COVID-19, Franklin said.

Sheriff Stephen Williams said 30 inmates from St. Mary Parish — that’s the Morgan City area — are being temporarily housed at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center because of the storm.

About 100 students from Nicholls State University in Thibodaux were expected to arrive on Louisiana Tech campus Saturday morning, with more potentially coming later. They will be housed in the Lambright Sports & Wellness Center and fed by Tech’s food services partner Aramark, according to Tech’s communications office.

Louisiana Tech and Nicholls State are partners in a mutual aid agreement.

Hurricane Ida will hit just two days past the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Laura. On Aug. 27 last year, Hurricane Laura made landfall near Cameron as a Category 4 storm.

Laura quickly churned northward and slammed into Lincoln Parish shortly before noon that day as a Category 1 storm. That marked the first time Lincoln Parish had been hit by full-fledged hurricane.

 “Hopefully we won’t ever see that ever again in lifetime,” Franklin said.

The hurricane knocked out about 95% of Ruston’s power grid and tore down trees, doing widespread damage to utility lines across the parish.

More than 10,000 Lincoln Parish residents received free ice, bottled water, tarps and self-contained meals-ready-to-eat during four days of distribution in the wake of Hurricane Laura.

Reporter Caleb Daniel contributed to the content of this story.