Area officials are making preparations for temperatures to dip into the 20s during the early part of next week in case any bridges or highways ice, and advise residents to take appropriate precautions associated with the frigid weather.
The parish will have sand ready in the event any bridges freeze Monday or Tuesday. Due to moisture in the air, bridges could freeze over and be treacherous, Duval Arthur, St. Mary Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness director, said Thursday. “It’s colder on top of the bridge than it is down below. So we’re concerned about that,” Arthur said.
Temperatures in the Tri-City are expected to get down to around the freezing mark for the morning lows on Saturday, Roger Erickson of the National Weather Service said Thursday afternoon. No precipitation is expected during the times of freezing temperatures, he said. Though Friday’s temperatures were only expected to get into the 40s, Saturday’s temperatures should reach the 50s, maybe even close to 60, Erickson said.
The area may get some wet weather Sunday with a 30 percent chance of showers. “Then we turn on the freezer again basically. Monday morning we don’t have it going down to freezing, but Tuesday morning, we have it possibly getting down into the 20s,” Erickson said.
If the temperature does make it into the 20s next week, that will make the coldest the area has seen so far this winter, he said.
As of this morning, the National Weather Service had the projected temperature for Morgan City getting down to 26 degrees Monday night.
Arthur advised parish residents to make sure they cover their plants, wrap outdoor pipes, and make sure their pets are taken care of.
“We always need to warn people about space heaters and generators. We have people that run generators for heat not realizing they’re filling their house up with carbon monoxide,” Arthur said. “Heaters burn off oxygen, and if you don’t have a fresh air vent somewhere, you could have problems if you have an open flame.”
In addition to wrapping pipes, Arthur suggested residents whose homes are raised off the ground drip their water faucets during freezing temperatures.
Parish emergency preparedness officials are working with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development and other parish agencies to put sand or barricades on bridges or highways if the need arises.
The two main factors that promote cold weather are lack of cloud cover and lack of wind, which cool the temperatures, Erickson said. “The way it goes in the wintertime forecasting here, it gets cold there Tuesday, and then we start warming up again Wednesday and Thursday. It’s just a roller coaster of temperatures.”
The central and eastern United States are experiencing a “pretty significant event” as far as cold temperatures, and the Tri-City area will be a part of it, he said. “From our own perspective, it’s going to be cold,” Erickson said.
The northern U.S. is seeing temperatures below 0 degrees, but the Tri-City area will not see any temperatures near that, he said.
St. Mary Outreach Executive Director Kay Raymond said Thursday her organization had not heard of any local places providing shelter for those in need, but will try to help anyone who comes into St. Mary Outreach get a room at a motel. “I can’t guarantee that they can. It depends on whether or not they have the occupancy,” Raymond said.