Baton Rouge residents have a 70 percent chance of seeing sleet and freezing temperatures Friday night with a cold weekend to follow, according to the National Weather Service.

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New Orleans will also experience some cold weather this weekend, especially with wind chill from the lake. "Gusty" 20 to 30 mph winds and temperatures in the low to mid-30s will feel more like low to mid-20s in New Orleans on Saturday.

The wind is expected to slow on Sunday, but temperatures could well drop to the upper 20s in the New Orleans area.

Forecasters say the temperature will drop to a low of 28 degrees Friday night with a 70 percent chance of rain and sleet in the Baton Rouge area. Saturday night and Sunday morning will see lows near 20 to 29 degrees in the Capital City, according to a National Weather Service forecast.

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This combination of freezing temperatures and precipitation Friday night could cause issues on elevated surfaces such as bridges and lifted roads in the Baton Rouge area, National Weather Service lead forecaster Christopher Bannan said.

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Baton Rouge Metro Airport spokesman Jim Caldwell said the airlines all have de-icing procedures and equipment in place and were preparing that equipment in advance of the weekend, though Caldwell said he does not expect any obstacles to normal operations.

Southwest Mississippi and Louisiana parishes near the border should expect even colder temperatures that are expected to dip into the teens by Sunday.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for Southwest Mississippi counties and Louisiana parishes just south of the border Thursday afternoon. Bannan said the advisory could extend to Baton Rouge overnight if temperatures trend colder or move further south.

The Weather Service said the winter weather advisory was issued for the following parishes: East Feliciana, Northern Tangipahoa, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, Washington and West Feliciana.

West Feliciana Schools will have an early dismissal due to the advisory, said Administrative Secretary June Harvey. The high school and middle school will release students at 11:37 a.m. Students at Bains Lower Elementary and Bains Elementary will be released at 12:03 p.m. and 12:08 p.m. respectively.

All four St. Helena Parish schools will close at 2 p.m. Friday, according to a St. Helena Parish School District Facebook post. 

East Feliciana Parish Superintendent Carlos Sam said they have "not determined yet" whether the schools will close early.

Lafayette will also see freezing temperatures, which could reach as low as 27 Friday, and 25 degrees Saturday night, but warming up to the the upper 40s on Sunday and the 70s by Tuesday, according to meteorologist Donald Jones.

Jones warned that these temperatures are considered to be "pipe busting" weather, so he advised residents to wrap or cover any exposed pipes.

LSU AgCenter housing specialist Caludette Reichel said flooded homes could be especially vulnerable to freezing and bursting pipes as some may not yet be re-insulated or have a working heat system.

Reichel advised those homeowners to take special precautions by insulating pipes, considering shutting off water or even running the faucets at a slow trickle.

She also stressed the importance of knowing where the main shut-off valve for the water is located and checking it to make sure that it isn't stuck. Checking the main heating sources and preparing for a back-up source is also key, she said.


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