Gov. Bel Edwards Declares State Of Emergency on Twitter Due To Weather

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says on Twitter that he's declared a state of emergency across the state "due to the winter weather and dangerous conditions."

In the brief statement on social media late Wednesday morning, the governor's office says more than 1.5 million pounds (680,000 kilograms) of salt has been distributed around the state to use on roadways.

The governor says 1,200 state transportation department employees are working "around the clock" as the state works to reopen shuttered roads and bridges around Louisiana.

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The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development is urging people to only drive if absolutely necessary.

Many of Louisiana's interstates are shuttered because of ice and snow that accumulated on roads and bridges overnight.

Among the closures Wednesday morning are parts of Interstate 49 which cuts through central Louisiana up to north Louisiana. In southern Louisiana, closures included Interstate 10 from Lafayette to near Slidell 170 miles away; Interstate 12 from Baton Rouge to near Covington 70 miles away; and all of Interstate 55, which runs from southeast Louisiana to the Mississippi state line.

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Every major interstate in the capital city of Baton Rouge was shut down Wednesday morning.

State officials warn that temperatures likely won't warm enough during the day to clear many major thoroughfares of ice.

The frigid air that brought snow and ice to the South has ushered in record-breaking low temperatures for New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as well as other cities in the South.

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The National Weather Service said it was 21 degrees (-6 Celsius) before dawn Wednesday in New Orleans. That breaks the city's record low temperature for the date, which was 23 degrees (-5 Celsius) set in 1977.

Baton Rouge also is seeing record-breaking temperatures. It was 15 degrees (-4 Celsius) there before dawn, breaking the record of 18 degrees (-8 Celsius) from 1977.

In Mississippi, the temperature in Hattiesburg dipped to 13 degrees (-11 Celsius) early Wednesday, breaking the previous record low of 14 (-10 Celsius). In the capital city of Jackson Wednesday morning, the temperature was hovering just above the city's record low of 10 degrees (-12 Celsius).

I-10 Road closures 

Louisiana transportation officials say Interstate 10 is closed in multiple parishes because of icy patches, and the same highway is closed across Alabama's Mobile Bay because of ice with temperatures in the teens.

Traffic along the coast was being diverted to U.S. 90, but that highway also was covered with ice in spots. A traffic camera showed an 18-wheeler stuck on an ice-covered Cochrane Bridge in Mobile.

Forecaster say temperatures will rise to the upper 30s along the coast Wednesday and sunshine should help clear away the ice.

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