An arctic cold front is on its way bringing with it northerly winds, freezing rain, sleet and possibly snow over the next two days, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). Mayor Mitch Landrieu has issued a declaration of emergency to prepare for the worst.
For up-to-the-minute news on New Orleans emergency services, go to ready.nola.gov or follow @NOLAReady on Twitter.
Here's the city's official statement, complete with emergency numbers, safety tips and possible road and bridge closures.
Roads and bridges will be icy, and the NWS is cautioning drivers to be cautious driving, or notto drive at all. Power outages will also be a possibility in areas where ice accumulates. Entergy New Orleans says potential outages could last between three to five days.
New Orleans City Hall will be closed for the next two days, as will city services and libraries. Jefferson Parish government offices and libraries will be closed Tuesday. Schools in Jefferson and Orleans Parish, including both the public schools and the RSD, are closed.The bus will replace streetcar routes. All Audubon Institute attractions are closed tomorrow.
Flights in and out of New Orleans could be canceled over the next two days. Check with your airline.
Dear Friends and Neighbors:
New Orleans is bracing for the worst winter storm we have seen in at least 10 years. This event should not be taken lightly. I encourage you to immediately begin planning for the extreme conditions that our city may face over the next 48 hours. Below is important information from City, State and regional officials regarding the storm. Please take a minute to review this information. Most importantly, please stay indoors and avoid driving unless absolutely necessary. Protect people, pets and pipes, and check on your neighbors.
ENTERGY NEW ORLEANS: Power outages are expected and could last 3-5 days in some areas. Entergy New Orleans is prepared to work expeditiously to restore power. Citizens are reminded that the process for restoring power after a winter storm is different than that used after a hurricane. Entergy will restore power to smaller areas at a time so as not to make the problem worse. If your power goes out, please reduce the power demand by turning off your major equipment (heaters, etc.) until power is restored. Visit stormcenter.entergy.com or call 1-800-ENTERGY for more information or to report an outage.
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND DEVELOPMENT (DOTD): This will be a major traffic event that will cover many roads in ¼ to ½ inch of ice and many roads and bridges may be closed due to these conditions. DOTD will begin covering local highway and US roads in salt, sand or other de-icing materials beginning at 4:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. Citizens are asked not to drive unless it is absolutely necessary, as increased traffic will require DOTD to re-cover the roads, using valuable time and resources.
LOUISIANA STATE POLICE: Please stay off the roads unless it is an emergency. Please dial *LSP to report roadway emergencies. Visit www.lsp.org for a list of State & Federal highway road closures, or call 1-800-469-4828.
NEW ORLEANS FIRE DEPARTMENT (NOFD): Please use extreme caution when operating portable space heaters and portable generators and when lighting candles. Never use a stove or oven to heat a house as carbon monoxide can fill the home and become deadly. Now is the time to check your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Call 911 in the case of an emergency.
NEW ORLEANS POLICE DEPARTMENT (NOPD): Please do not drive unless it is absolutely necessary as icy conditions will almost certainly cause accidents and can quickly tie up valuable time and resources. Every NOPD officer will be working Tuesday and Wednesday to protect people and property. Officers will have on their blue lights as they drive around.
CITY OF NEW ORLEANS: City Hall will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday. The 311 call center will remain open and will be operating 24/7. Please report all non-emergencies (fallen tree limbs, poles, etc.) to 311. Report all emergencies to 911. Please visit ready.nola.gov for up to date information and to receive text alerts. Protect people, pets, and pipes. Check on your neighbors. All emergency shelters will be open. A medical special needs shelter will be open at the Allie Mae Williams Multi-Services Center located at 2020 Jackson Avenue. There will be no garbage pickup on Tuesday or Wednesday.
SEWERAGE AND WATER BOARD (S&WB): S&WB expects to continue with normal operations. Their office will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday but their emergency service lines will remain open. Call 52WATER (504-529-2837).
ORLEANS PARISH SCHOOL BOARD (OPSB)/RECOVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT (RSD): All OPSB and RSD schools are closed Tuesday. They will closely monitor conditions for Wednesday and a decision will be made on Tuesday as to whether or not schools will remain closed.
Our office will be regularly checking emails in order to stay in touch with constituents, however, in case of an emergency, we remind you to please call 911 immediately.