After a day and night of freezing temperatures and the infamous "wintry mix" of sleet, freezing rain and snow flurries around south Louisiana, the National Weather Service has canceled the winter storm warning. City officials regrouped this morning with updates and a report from the day's rare weather events — with a warning that icy conditions and a hard freeze warning will last until 9 a.m. tomorrow. An update on school, government and road closures is expected by 3 p.m. today.
"The sun will not be out to melt the ice," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. While temperatures are expected to rise slightly from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., they'll plunge again tonight, and today's cloud cover won't help melt any ice on roads and bridges. Landrieu and other officials warned residents to stay off the roads. "Take the risk if you like, but the risk is very, very high," Landrieu said.
The New Orleans Police Department responded to 59 accidents last night, 24 of which required EMS attention. Two accidents involved cars swerving into waterways to avoid pedestrians. The New Orleans Fire Department responded to one fire, started by a space heater. NOFD chief Timothy McConnell once again warned residents to use space heaters in well-ventilated areas.
Area shelters helped more than 700 people escape the cold last night. The city has reactivated its freeze plan for the homeless.
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport director Iftikhar Ahmad said some flights are departing but to check with airlines before heading to MSY — and to use Airline Highway as an alternate route to the airport.
"We're not finished yet," Landrieu said. "We're still in harm's way, according to the National Weather Service."
· I-10 High Rise Bridge E/B and W/B is closed, traffic diverted to Almonaster Blvd. and Chef Menteur Hwy
· I-10 at U.S. 11 is closed
· I-610 W/B at Canal is closed to the Jefferson Parish Line
· Crescent City Connection HOV Lanes closed
· The Causeway Bridge closed both directions
· The Causeway Overpass at I-10 is closed due to ice
· The Clearview Overpass at I-10 is closed due to ice
· The elevated portion of U.S. 90 B is closed in both directions from General De Gaulle to Westwego
· Interstate 10 from West end Blvd. (Orleans Parish) through Lafayette is closed (Metairie, Kenner, Laplace)
· I-55 N/B and S/B closed
· I-310 from I-10 to LA 48 (River Road) closed in both directions
· All ramps at US 61 and I-310 are closed
· I-310 from LA 18 to U.S. 90 are closed in both directions
· Traffic from LA 3127 eastbound (from Donaldsonville) will be diverted onto LA 3160 to LA 18, LA 52, or Barton Rd.
· LA 3142 ( railroad overpass) at the plants is closed
· U.S. 90 Bridge at Des Allemands is closed and traffic re-routed to old train bridge on LA 631
· One lane LA 23 N/B on Bridge closed
· LA 47 at Green Bridge closed
Update, 3 p.m.:
New Orleans City Hall will reopen tomorrow (Thursday, Jan. 30) for normal hours. Streetcar service is expected to resume. All buses are in service.
All Archdiocese schools in New Orleans reopen tomorrow but two hours later than normal. Catholic and public schools in Jefferson Parish will also reopen two hours later than normal. Catholic schools in Jefferson Parish will not have bus service
All schools in St. Tammany Parish will remain closed.
All local universities will reopen.
All Orleans Parish public and charter schools will reopen tomorrow — except for Edna Karr Magnet School, which is experiencing heater problems. Uptown Messenger reports Mildred Osborne Charter School, ARISE Academy and Lagniappe Academies will remain closed.
Update, 5 p.m.:
Interstate 10 from the Orleans and Jefferson parish line to Interstate 310 is open. The Causeway will remain open northbound only until 6 p.m.
The Bonnet Carre spillway remains closed.