Jefferson Parish mayors are telling residents to resist the urge to drive as temperatures plunge and the metro area begins to see more rain and sleet.
“There are still many people out on the roads in the city and I want to emphasize in the strongest possible terms that the safest course of action is to remain inside,” Kenner Mayor Michael Yenni said in a news release. “Conditions are only going to get worse the rest of the afternoon and into this evening.”
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Norman said at 3 p.m. that there had been only seven accidents in the parish since 6 a.m., one of them a hit-and-run.
Spokesman John Fortunato said the sheriff’s office “wants to remind everyone to stay off the roadways and to remain home unless it is absolutely necessary to drive. To reiterate, we will not tolerate folks driving around sightseeing.”
In Gretna, Mayor Belinda Constant also warned residents against feeling complacent after a relatively uneventful Tuesday morning.
“At least on the south shore, we believe that tomorrow morning will be the most critical time when people get up and try to get out again,” she said, noting the stocking up period Monday and Tuesday morning was intended to keep people off the roads when temperatures plummet later.
Residents, she said, need to “get back home and stay safe inside the house.”
Conditions are expected to deteriorate with the temperature into the 20s this evening and about 10 hours of frozen precipitation ahead, Yenni said, pointing to the traffic accidents that occurred during the cold snap last Friday.
“Remember that it’s not just a matter of how careful you drive, but what the other motorists are doing around you,” Yenni said. “Stay home and you won’t become a statistic.”
The East Jefferson Levee District worked with crews from the state Department of Transportation and Development to salt the Airline Highway bridge over the Bonnet Carre spillway. Traffic in that area could be delayed during the salting operation, which will be repeated about 4 p.m., Yenni said.