- Associated Press - Thursday, January 23, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - As extreme cold temperatures approach Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an emergency order Thursday that will allow for the uninterrupted delivery of propane and heating fuels.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for much of southwest Louisiana beginning at 6 p.m. A hard freeze is expected overnight in much of that area and snow, sleet or freezing rain could make driving difficult.

Jindal’s emergency declaration allows for state agencies to take appropriate actions ahead of the frigid weather to ensure that propane and heating fuel products can be delivered in the state and outside of it.

Authorities said the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Crisis Action Team also has been activated as the state braces for the cold.

The anticipated weather also prompted the state to close state offices Friday in the following parishes: Acadia, Allen, Ascension, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis, Evangeline, Rapides, Vernon, Pointe Coupee, West Feliciana, West Baton Rouge, Iberville, St. Martin, St. Landry, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Mary, Vermilion, and Grant.

In addition, McNeese State University in Lake Charles will be closed Friday and classes were canceled.

Classes at all of Northwestern State University’s campuses were cancelled Friday. They were to resume on Monday, officials said.

LSU at Alexandria also will be closed Friday. KATC-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1d0aIJS ) the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is shutting down at midnight Friday but expects to resume normal operations by 12:30 p.m.

The Department of Transportation and Development says it has crews on stand-by if the freezing conditions require road closures, de-icing of bridges and roadways or the removal of fallen trees.