Alligator Warning Issued as Tropical Storm Claudette Thrashes Gulf Coast

The third named storm of the year, tropical storm Claudette, has thrashed through the Gulf Coast this week, and areas in Louisiana have issued an official warning that citizens watch out for alligators in some of the flooded highways.

Louisiana officials said that with the significant flooding, an influx of alligators swimming up and down the highway has incited complaints from people on the road.

"Highway 23 is open at this time, just watch out for alligators. We got a lot of complaints of alligators in the highway," Plaquemines Parish Emergency Operations Center director Patrick Harvey told WDSU on Saturday.

Harvey confirmed that Highway 23 and Highway 39 in Plaquemines Parish are both open Saturday morning, but officials have received several complaints about alligators and other displaced wildlife.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issued a state of emergency on Thursday, and the National Weather Service in New Orleans reported Friday that the storm had begun moving closer to the coast.

In addition to heavy rains, there is also a threat of coastal flooding, tropical storm force winds and isolated tornadoes. @GOHSEP has activated its Crisis Action Team & stands ready to support local partners with any resources needed beyond parish capabilities. #lagov #lawx

— John Bel Edwards (@LouisianaGov) June 17, 2021

An area in Alabama was also hit with a tornado in the midst of heavy rainfall and high-speed winds, making storm Claudette the main antagonist in a kind of real-life apocalyptic film.

A tornado warning was issued around 3 a.m. local time in Coden, and WKRG reported that it touched down shortly after, doing damage to the Cedar Point fishing pier near the bridge to Dauphin Island.

The National Weather Service (NWS) reported that a 2 x 4 piece of wood broke free from the pier and smashed into the windshield of a pickup truck. A 911 caller on the scene reported a possible injury, but WKRG said they confirmed with people at the scene, who reported that everyone was okay.

A pickup truck has minor damage after a board slammed into it during a possible tornado at Cedar Point Pier just north of Dauphin Island @WKRG @WKRGEd @NWSMobile pic.twitter.com/kC4mghW71b

— Meaghan Mackey (@MeaghanMackeyTV) June 19, 2021

On Friday morning, the National Hurricane Center stated that Claudette is expected to "produce heavy rainfall, considerable flash, urban and small stream flooding beginning today and continuing through the weekend along the Central Gulf Coast with flood impacts spreading northeastward into the Southern Appalachians."

Newsweek reported Friday that some areas are at a 30 percent risk of facing tropical-storm-force winds, exceeding 39 mph.

CNN reported that floodwater has already washed over rural streets and neighborhoods in areas around coastal Mississippi, and residents are "just hoping for the best."

New Orleans resident Cara McCarthy told WDSU: "We just never know what's gonna happen. So (we're) just hoping for the best. We've moved out cars, but we can't move our house. We've got our sandbags ready. We've got our tarp ready and we're just ... hoping for the best."

The National Hurricane Center simultaneously announced around 4 a.m. CT Saturday that a gulf storm previously called a "potential tropical cyclone" had become Claudette, and also that it was centered inland near Houma, Louisiana.

It is forecasted to weaken into a tropical depression by Saturday evening, moving towards the Atlantic where it could turn into a tropical storm over the water by Tuesday, the NWS reported.

Newsweek reached out to the NWS for additional comment.

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Tropical Storm Claudette has spurred Louisiana to issue a warning on alligators swimming on flooded highways. Above, flood waters cover a roadway near structures damaged by Hurricane Laura on October 10, 2020 in Cameron, Louisiana. Mario Tama/Getty Images