Mayor Mitch Landrieu and city officials urge New Orleans to stay indoors today and possibly tomorrow or through Thursday as a winter storm of freezing rain and sleet heads south. Officials say weather will hit at 2 p.m. this afternoon.
"Residents must be prepared for what is definitely coming our way," Landrieu said. "Two things are going to happen today: it's going to get colder, and it's going to get wet."
Officials warned drivers to stay of the roads unless it's an emergency as ice falls from trees and powerlines and develops on roads. "Don't let the conditions right now fool you," said New Orleans Police Department chief Ronal Serpas. "Rain, ice and standing ice are on the way."
All flights out of Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport are canceled today and possibly tomorrow. The last flight of today left at 11 a.m. Airport director Iftikhar Ahmad said they hope to resume flights Thursday.
Below is a recap of the city's response with a list of numbers and contacts:
The city's public safety units are fully staffed and ready, including the New Orleans police and fire departments, EMS, Homeland Security and the health department.
The city's 3-1-1 line opened this morning for 24-hour non-emergency calls for information related to the weather. Dial 9-1-1 for emergencies. Follow @nolaready for weather and emergency alerts.
Fire: NOFD chief Timothy McConnell warned residents to use space heaters and indoor heaters in well-ventilated areas. (Firefighters responded to a space heater related fire this morning.) NOFD also has staged additional units in Algiers and the Lower 9th Ward.
Shelters: Salvation Army, Covenant House, Ozanam Inn and New Orleans Mission are open. Health commissioner Charlotte Parent said 430 people have taken shelter. Go here for shelter information and contacts.
Sewerage & Water Board will respond to emergencies: call (504) 529-2837.
Animals and pets: The LA/SPCA will respond to emergencies for animals in need. Dial (504) 368-5191.
RTA: Streetcars remain closed, and buses will use their routes except on the riverfront. Call (504) 248-3900 for streetcar and bus closures and alternate routes.