Emergency Operations Center cautions against driving on icy roads

Emergency Operations Center cautions against driving on icy roads

ST. JAMES PARISH, LA (WVUE) - A wintry scene played out in the river parishes Friday. With temperatures dropping, drivers should be extra cautious out on icy roads, causing two major bridges to close in the St. James Parish.

Emergency Operations Director Francis Hymel said he hasn't seen this much snow since 1989.

The Sunshine and Veterans Memorial bridges were closed around 8:30 a.m., isolating the east and west Banks. The Department of Transportation and Development put down sand and salt to try to keep them open, but they couldn't keep up with the snowfall.

The Hale Boggs Bridge is open in St. Charles Parish.

Hymel said while traffic is still flowing fine in St. James, once temperatures start dropping, roadways will become more dangerous.

"The biggest thing we're worried about tonight is the temperatures dipping below freezing and of course black ice and that sort of thing," Hymel said.

He said they're not sure when the bridges will reopen and is waiting for the snow to stop.

While the snow was thick out in St. James Parish and many drove out to see it, the cold and wet weather could be dangerous as the roads start to freeze.

Shauna Johnson brought her two daughters from Chalmette out to St. James Parish for them to experience a white winter.

"It snowed when she was one and a half before Isaac. The winter before Isaac. It was just like this, we built a big snowman and it was all gone by like noon," Johnson said.

Her daughters took advantage of the snow while it lasted.

"It's just so pretty and fun and just seeing the southern, the sugar cane fields and everything all covered in snow, it's just fun," Johnson said.

However, the snow can also take a nasty turn.

"Our biggest concern right now is just the motoring public. You know, it's nice to get out and see the snow falling and the picturesque stuff we don't usually see here in south Louisiana," Emergency Operations Director Francis Hymel said.

Hymel said roads freezing and black ice are worrisome.

"Traffic's still flowing fine now, but once the temperatures start dropping, then it's not going to be a pretty sight here. The biggest thing right now is to contact 511, make sure they have the DOTD app. Pretty much we're split in the middle between Destrahan and Baton Rouge. So really the only two options are to head south or head north," Hymel said.

Hymel said to be prepared.

"They should always have a plan in place, especially we're not used to this. But even though during hurricane season or any type of emergency event, you know folks should have something available at their house," Hymel said.

Some of these things include canned goods and other nonperishables in case they are stuck in their homes for several days..

Hymel said the best thing to do is stay off the roads if possible.

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