NEW ORLEANS, LA – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu urged citizens to remain vigilant and, if possible, stay off roadways and remain in their homes as a winter storm brings freezing, dangerous conditions to the New Orleans area. On Monday, the National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning for Orleans Parish and Mayor Landrieu declared a state of emergency.
A combination of freezing temperatures and precipitation is expected to produce a wintry mix of ice, sleet and snow, leading to treacherous road conditions and possible power outages from downed tree limbs. The City is monitoring the severe weather and coordinating with surrounding parishes and the State to ensure the safety of residents.
“The City of New Orleans is actively preparing for what could be the worst winter weather we’ve seen in at least 10 years,” Mayor Landrieu said. “This event could potentially bring ice, sleet and snow – unfamiliar conditions for our area that could be very dangerous for motorists. The City is taking all necessary precautions and actions to keep our citizens safe and I urge residents to make every effort to keep themselves and their fellow citizens safe.
Click here to view today’s press conference.
All citizens should take appropriate precautions to protect themselves from the potentially dangerous effects of this weather. Exposure to temperatures near freezing, combined with strong winds, for an extended period of time can cause serious medical problems. Citizens are also encouraged to check on neighbors and the elderly to make sure they are prepared. To be safe, follow these tips while outside:
Be aware of the wind chill factor;
Wear layers, hat, and gloves;
Carry a cell phone; and
Sprinkle cat litter or sand on icy patches.
Citizens are advised to use extra caution when using heaters and generators. Use the following tips to protect your family from carbon monoxide:
Keep grills, camp stoves, and generators out of the house and garage;
Locate generators at least 20 feet from the house;
Do not use appliances such as ovens or stovetops to heat the house. This could cause a build-up of carbon monoxide; and
Leave your home immediately if the carbon monoxide detector sounds and call 911.
Citizens are encouraged to protect their homes and businesses by dripping their faucets and wrap their pipes.
Citizens should avoid going near any downed tree limbs or power lines.
CITYWIDE FREEZE PLAN ACTIVATION
The City's Freeze Plan will be in effect until Thursday, January 30, 2014 to provide temporary shelter for homeless citizens. Weather conditions will require all individuals to seek shelter.
Persons needing shelter will be accepted at the following locations under the following conditions:
The Salvation Army, 4530 South Claiborne Avenue – will accept males and females beginning at 4:00 p.m. Monday, January 27.
Ozanam Inn, 843 Camp Street – will accept males only beginning at 2:00 p.m. today.
Covenant House, 611 North Rampart Street – will accept males and females between the ages 16-21, their dependent children, and any female with dependent minor children. Mothers with small children may come anytime.
New Orleans Mission, 1130 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. – will only accept male or female adults beginning at 2:00 p.m. today.
Allie Mae Williams Center, 2222 Simon Bolivar – City operated warming shelter will remain open to males and females until the emergency ends.
All shelters are open free of charge to those seeking shelter during this period of inclement weather.
ROADWAYS AND BRIDGES
The City is working in cooperation with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) to prepare to clear roadways and bridges. Icy conditions will create dangerous driving conditions, particularly on elevated roadways and bridges. Motorists should use extra caution when traveling during this time and should stay off the roads whenever possible. In case of any emergencies, motorists are encouraged to call 911.
DOTD Resources and personnel are staged at priority locations in Orleans Parish. Motorists can access the latest updates on real-time traffic and road conditions using the 511 Traveler Information System by dialing 511 from their telephone and saying the route or region about which they are seeking information. Out-of-state travelers can call 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511). Travelers can also access this information by visiting the 511 Traveler Information Web site at www.511la.org.
CITY FACILITIES CLOSED
The following City facilities will be closed for business today and tomorrow:
City Hall, 1300 Perdido Street
All New Orleans Recreation Department Commission (NORDC) facilities
All New Orleans Public Library branches
REGIONAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY (RTA)
The RTA is replacing streetcar service with buses effective today through the Thursday, January 30, 2014 service pullout. Riverfront streetcar service is suspended during this time. RTA Bus service will be provided until such time as weather and road conditions become too hazardous to operate. Riders should expect delays, rerouting of service, and possible suspensions in service along routes in response to evolving weather and road conditions throughout the winter storm event. For the latest information call 504-248-3900 or follow RTA on twitter at @NewOrleansRTA. Riders are also encouraged to visit the City of New Orleans emergency website www.ready.nola.gov.
The Lower Algiers-Chalmette Ferry is out of service in both directions. The Algiers-Canal Street Ferry remains operational servicing pedestrians only.
Regular garbage and recycling pickups have been suspended for today and tomorrow.
SEWERAGE AND WATER BOARD
All 24 Sewerage and Water Board drainage pump stations are 100% operational.
The Sewerage and Water Board’s offices will be closed today and tomorrow, but its call center will remain operational. In the case of emergency, residents are encouraged to call Sewerage and Water Board’s emergency line at 504-529-2837 (504-52WATER).
Residents are encouraged to not drain fats, oils, or greases which can build up in sewer pipes and cause blockages and backups.
According to Entergy, it has activated its emergency response center and is assembling a team of more than 2,100 restoration workers, some who are currently working in this area and the remainder being deployed to south Louisiana tonight and tomorrow morning in anticipation of ice-related outages.
Customers are encouraged to download the free Entergy app or go to www.entergy.com to sign up for text messages. Residents may call 1-800-9OUTAGE to report outages or downed power lines.
NEW ORLEANS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
All flights in and out of the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport today have been canceled, and airport officials anticipate cancellations to continue into tomorrow. The airlines continue to monitor weather conditions to determine a time for the resumption of flights. Travelers are encouraged to check individual airlines’ websites for latest information on delays and cancellations.
New Orleans hotels remain open with essential personnel. City officials are in contact with hotels and conventions in town in order to ensure safety of New Orleans visitors as well as New Orleans residents. Major attractions are closed today. The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau provide hospitality updates on their website at https://www.facebook.com/NewOrleansCVB.
NOLA 311 began operating 24 hours a day this morning until further notice. Residents are encouraged to call NOLA 311 for non-emergency information related to winter weather. To report downed power lines, call 911.
Citizens are encouraged to sign up for email and text message alerts by going to ready.nola.gov. This service allows City officials to contact citizens during emergencies, which includes life-threatening weather events, evacuation or shelter in place information, and other pertinent emergency information. In addition to the website, the City operates a Twitter handle: @nolaready.
IMPORTANT NUMBERS TO KNOW
For life threatening emergencies and downed power lines, call 911
To report a non-life threatening problem or to get information, call 311
For real-time traffic and road condition, call 511
Report downed traffic signals, call 504-821-2222
Sewerage and Water Boards 24/7 line, call 504-529-2837
To report power outages, call 1-800-968-8243 (1-800-9OUTAGE)
To report water emergencies, call 504-529-2837 (504-52WATER)