Gov. Edwards: Rolling blackouts may occur, residents should conserve energy

Governor John Bel Edwards held a media briefing Monday on the winter weather impacting a large portion of the state.

Roads statewide are blanketed in ice, and the governor said that and black ice are one of the greater concerns state officials have Monday night. So far, Louisiana State Police have responded to more than 150 vehicle crashes. No fatalities have occurred, but there have been moderate to significant injuries.

"Individuals should be careful because if they go out and get in an accident, it's not guaranteed that you're going to have a first responder show up in a timely fashion, because it takes awhile to manuever through the ice," Gov. Edwards said.

He urged residents to stay home unless it is necessary and to continue to check 511la.org for the latest travel updates.

As of 5:30 p.m., there were more than 125,000 power outages reported across the state, some of those without power for hours. Energy companies are asking residents to conserve power, primarily by setting the thermostat between 65 and 67 degrees.

There are currently no rolling blackouts planned in the state, none scheduled for Monday night, and Gov. Edwards says he hopes none have to take place, but added that rolling blackouts may occur due to "unprecedented demand on the electrical systems." He urged that residents should conserve energy to ensure that rolling blackouts do not have to take place.

State Police are working with local partners and the National Guard is working with the Offices of Emergency Preparedness in response to the weather, and there have been generators delivered for water systems across the state to deal with power outages.

"This remains a very serious situation, and we're asking people to be patient," said the governor. "We're asking people to stay home, don't go on the road."

With several local curfews and stay at home orders in place, Gov. Edwards said that is not something he's considering statewide because there are parts of the state that would not benefit from a statewide order. He said that local governments should handle those orders depending on local conditions.

Gov. Edwards says state officials are continuing to monitor another weather event scheduled to impact portions of Louisiana later this week, and says the state is coordinating with parishes and the Red Cross to be prepared.

Many roads in North Louisiana are closed due to the weather, and there's a possibility some will remain closed for days, the governor said.

Schools, state offices, and local government offices are closed Tuesday due to the Mardi Gras holiday. The governor said his office will be making an announcement Tuesday afternoon regarding if those closures will be extended. He said there are likely to be additional closures but probably not statewide.

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