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Dangerous weather coming to Louisiana

The National Weather Service in Shreveport is monitoring a cold front, which may bring the possibility of wintry precipitation, as it passes through Louisiana. Beginning Sunday and continuing through Monday, a mixture of rain, freezing rain, ice, and/or snow is forecast to affect much of Louisiana. This weather event will likely affect motorists as an accumulation of wintry precipitation is expected.

Gov. Edwards has declared a state of emergency due to the current heavy rainfall totals beginning to impact the state and the potential for wintry conditions beginning this weekend and extending to next week.

While the forecast beyond the weekend is still uncertain, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) is urging all Louisianans to plan accordingly. Flash flooding from heavy rains can happen very quickly. While flooded roadways and flash flooding are the immediate concerns, there is the potential for additional weather issues.

Before deciding whether travel is necessary, Louisiana State Police urges motorists to stay informed with the latest weather and travel conditions. Freezing rain and sleet can cause bridges and overpasses to ice quickly, as temperatures near the freezing point. If conditions deteriorate, motorists are encouraged to refrain from driving until conditions improve. If ice accumulates on bridges and/or overpasses, LSP will work closely with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development and our local law enforcement partners to take appropriate measures.

Roadway closures are possible and expected across the state. For road closure information, motorists can utilize the 511 phone system, 511la.org, or Louisiana 511 smartphone application.

Throughout the weather event, Troopers will be actively patrolling to monitor roadway conditions and assist stranded motorists.  LSP offers the following winter weather driving tips:

  • Avoid unnecessary travel
  • Reduce speed and allow extra time to reach your destination
  • Increase your following distance behind other vehicles
  • Do not drive using the cruise control in icy conditions
  • Anticipate stops (such as stop signs and traffic signals) and brake gently while stopping
  • Be aware that ice may be difficult to see and is especially likely to be present on overpasses, bridges, and shady spots on the roadway
  • If you encounter a skid, take your foot off of the accelerator and steer into the skid until you regain control
  • Use low beam headlights if it is raining or sleeting
  • Watch for slow-moving DOTD vehicles as well as first responders
  • Move over or, if unable to move over, reduce speed for emergency vehicles on the shoulder
  • Ensure all vehicle occupants are properly restrained

It is illegal and potentially dangerous to drive around barricades.  Under Louisiana law, motorists who choose to do so are responsible for damage to persons or property that result from doing so.  Additionally, violators are subject to fines of up to $500 and/or up to 30 days in jail.

If you experience difficulties or witness hazardous situations while on the highway, you may notify the nearest State Police Troop by dialing *LSP (*577) from your cell phone or contact local law enforcement by dialing 911.  Continue to monitor LSP’s social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter) for updated information regarding current traffic advisories, roadways conditions, and other significant notifications.