BATON ROUGE--Governor John Bel Edwards says the state government is preparing for the next winter storm while most the state is recovering from this morning's storm.

In a virtual press conference this afternoon, Edwards said he spoke with the White House to see if there was anything they could do to assist Louisiana as it begins to thaw and braces for the storm planned to impact the state on Thursday and/or Friday. Edwards also said he's working with local emergency preparedness offices and other agencies to respond to the current and future winter weather events.

"We continue to work with the Red Cross, which is coordinating directly with parishes if they need blankets. Of course, we're encouraging parishes to set up warming centers for individuals who may need an opportunity to get warm."

Right now, Edwards is preparing for the aftermath of Monday morning's storm.

The governor urges Louisiana residents to conserve electricity. So far, the state has experienced more than 125,000 power outages because of the with some areas experiencing outages for more than 12 hours. According to Edwards, those outages were caused not only by the harsh conditions, but also by increased demand for electricity. Edwards says the increased demand on the state's electrical grid could cause rolling blackouts. According to Edwards, no rolling blackouts have been planned as of yet.

"Keep your thermostat between 65 and 68," Edwards said. "Put on an extra blanket if necessary. The reason is there are unprecedented demands being placed on the electrical grid system. If the power generation is unable to keep up with the demand, then rolling blackouts may occur."

Edwards is also urging people to stay home. State police worked more than 150 crashes on Monday. Those crashes resulted in moderate to severe injuries but no deaths. In addition to black ice, Edwards noted hazards such as downed trees and power lines as reasons why drivers shouldn't take any chances on the state's roads. Edwards reminds residents that they're putting more than just their own lives at stake when they drive in harsh conditions like these.

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

"Stay home. Stay off the road. Don't go out unless it's absolutely necessary."

Despite urging people to stay home, Edwards says he is not considering a statewide stay-at-home order.

"That's something that local government can do and is doing. We have some parts of the state in the extreme southeast that really wouldn't need to do a stay-at-home order because of the weather. I really think it's something local should do in accordance with whatever conditions they happen to be experiencing, especially if it's accompanied by widespread power outages that may be affecting signals for roads and that sort of thing."

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