Watches and warnings issued earlier

By Tiffany Blackmon - bio | email

CAMERON PARISH, LA (KPLC) – Southwest Louisianans like Larry Jones, know a thing or two about staying on top of tropical storms and hurricanes.

"We pay a lot of attention to the weather bureaus and naturally if it's going to come in, we'd get out," said Jones.

But are Larry and thousands of others allowing themselves enough time to get out before the storm? The National Hurricane Center has made changes in regards to that question.

Cameron Parish OEP Director Clifton Hebert stated, "The National Weather Center is going to start issuing certain warnings within 12 hours or so earlier than they used to do."

Watches previously were issued 36 hours of when hurricane like conditions were expected along the coastline, now they'll be issued at 48 hours. Warnings were previously issued at 24 hours, now they'll be made 36 hours out.

The time it takes to evacuate can vary depending on the population, so the National Hurricane Center may have had more densely populated areas in mind when they revised how they issue watches and warnings.

Jones stated, "My friend in Houston, they left three days ahead and it still took them 14 hours to get out."

"In think what they're trying to do is effect more metropolitan areas that are heavily populated," said Hebert. "A lot more so than rural areas like we have in Southwest Louisiana."

At this time the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is not planning to advise people to leave earlier.

"We have our warnings down and so far our timelines have worked for our area, and at this time we plan to stick with our timeline," said Hebert.

Hebert says their goal is to always encourage people who can leave early to do so as soon as they can.

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