Local Agencies Head to Gulf Coast to Aid in Tropical Storm Barry Relief Efforts

SACRAMENTO -- Tropical Storm Barry is expected to bring upwards of 50 mph wind gusts to the Louisiana coast.

As thousands are facing evacuations, crews from around the United States, including agencies from California, are jumping in to help.

Virginia Escalante-Tambert is one of two red cross members from the Gold Country region currently in Baton Rouge - as the storm is expected to dump up to 15 inches of rainfall through Sunday.

“We got a call about 4 p.m. to open the shelter. So, our shelter is ready and open,” she said.

But they’re not the only crews from the state of California providing aid.

Governor Gavin Newsom approved the deployment of four Urban Search and Rescue trained firefighters from Menlo Park, San Diego, Orange County and here in Sacramento.

“He’s going over to be incident management for the teams that get deployed over there, but in the past, we go over as an ordered resource from FEMA - about 15 of us go over in boats, and trucks and trailers,” said Captain Dave Lauchner with the Sacramento Fire Department.

Barry strengthened into a category one hurricane Saturday morning as the storm made its way toward the Louisiana coast but slowly weakened into a tropical storm.

Something Lauchner has seen during his previous deployments.

“It got downgraded from a category one down to a tropical storm but that doesn’t give a lot of relief to the Louisiana residents because that will bring a lot of rain over there just to increase on what they have already gotten,” he said.

During the 2017 and 2018 season - all eight Cal OES task forces were deployed to help in several tropical storms and hurricanes on the East Coast, Puerto Rico and Hawaii.

But as Tropical Storm Barry leaves thousands without electricity and has forced evacuations, Escalante-Tambert says Red Cross crews are standing by - ready to help.

“Once our clients arrive, we’ll be ready to work,” she said.

Tropical Storm Barry is expected to make its way farther inland Sunday into Monday - eventually weakening to a tropical depression.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.