AP NEWS

Edwards declares emergency after weather, tornadoes

December 20, 2019 GMT

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana is under a state of emergency after an outbreak of severe weather and tornadoes swept through the region.

Gov. John Bel Edwards issued the order Wednesday, after the line of storms associated with a cold front moved across the state Tuesday bringing heavy rainfall, high winds and tornadic activity, with at least one confirmed EF-1 tornado.

The declaration allows the state to provide additional assistance to the impacted areas.

Many parishes reported downed power lines, debris and damage to numerous structures. Beauregard, Rapides, Vernon and Webster Parishes also reported significant damage.

One fatality related to the storms was reported in Vernon Parish.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the victim’s family who died during this severe weather outbreak.” Edwards said in announcing the order. “After surveying several of the areas impacted by the storms from the air and on the ground, we are fortunate there are not more injuries. We expect several parishes to declare an emergency as they transition from the response mode to the recovery mode. This step will allow us to provide assistance where needed and start the overall recovery process at the state level.”