News for Thursday 010517
By Dave Graichen
Precipitation moves into Louisiana tonight, and it could change to snow north of I-20. But State climatologist Barry Keim says the chance for wintery precipitation is not very high. Keim says this weather system is expected to move through the state quickly. But he says once it passes over, arctic air pushes in.
Well it is now official. According to the National Weather Service, at least 8 tornadoes hit Louisiana Monday. The twisters damaged parts of Avoyelles, Beauregard, Evangeline, Rapides, and Tangipahoa parishes. The most powerful storm touched down in Beauregard Parish, with winds reaching 110 mph. Ten to 25 homes were damaged.
GLOVIS America announces a new inland distribution center for imported vehicles will be located at the old General Motors plant in Shreveport. It will mean at least 150 new jobs. Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says Kia and Hyundai vehicles will come from other countries and get equipment and exterior upgrades at the facility. A hiring date has not been set, but he says the average salary is expected to be around $32-thouasnd. The former Shreveport GM plant has been inactive since 2012.
Water systems across Louisiana are increasing fees to help with increased state inspections. State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry says there’s always been a fee to pay for state inspections, but the legislature and governor agreed to increase the fee by another 75-cents per month starting this month, because health risks are getting higher. Guidry hopes this will prevent another disaster like the poor drinking water currently in St. Joseph.
Drivers can expect to pay more at the pump this year, as GasBuddy forecasts the highest prices in three years. Senior Petroleum Analyst Greg Laskowski says right now the statewide average is $2.16, which is about 40-cents higher than a year ago and a spike is likely later this winter and spring. Laskowski expects prices to peak in May or June and the yearly average is expected to be 36-cents higher.
The state has released its revised coastal protection and restoration masterplan that’s designed to reduce hurricane storm surge and restore Louisiana’s vanishing coastline. Bren Haase with the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority says the plan proposes 120 projects. Haase says the worst case scenario for the coast would be about 4-thousand square miles of land loss if they did nothing. Haase says roughly $18 billion has been secured to implement the 50-year plan, which would take $50 billion to fully fund it.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation launches a railroad safety campaign. Based on the latest numbers from the Federal Railroad Administration, Louisiana was fourth in the nation for the number of highway-rail grade crossing fatalities in 2015, with 13 deaths. DOTD Spokesperson Rodney Mallett says the message of their campaign is do not stop on the tracks.