After this afternoon's press conference about the winter storm expected to hit southern Louisiana Tuesday and Wednesday, Mayor Mitch Landrieu's office detailed the city's emergency plans.
Below the jump: information about the city's freeze plan, precautions to take, possible road and bridge closures and important numbers to know.
TAKE PRECAUTIONSAll citizens should take appropriate precautions to protect themselves from the potentially dangerous effects of this weather. Exposure to temperatures near freezing, combined with strong winds, for an extended period of time can cause serious medical problems. Citizens are also encouraged to check on neighbors and the elderly to make sure they are prepared. To be safe, follow these tips while outside:
Be aware of the wind chill factor;
Wear layers, hat, and gloves;
Carry a cell phone; and
Sprinkle cat litter or sand on icy patches.
Citizens are advised to use extra caution when using heaters and generators. Use the following tips to protect your family from carbon monoxide:
Keep grills, camp stoves, and generators out of the house and garage;
Locate generators at least 20 feet from the house; and
Leave your home immediately if the carbon monoxide detector sounds and call 911.
Citizens are encouraged to protect their homes and businesses by dripping their faucets and wrap their pipes.
Citizens should avoid going near any downed tree limbs or power lines.
CITYWIDE FREEZE PLAN ACTIVATION
The City's Freeze Plan will be in effect Tuesday, January 28 until Thursday, January 30, 2014 to provide temporary shelter for homeless citizens. Weather conditions will require all individuals to seek shelter.
Persons needing shelter will be accepted at the following locations under the following conditions:
The Salvation Army, 4530 South Claiborne Avenue – will accept males and females beginning at 4:00 p.m. Monday, January 27.
Ozanam Inn, 843 Camp Street – will accept males only beginning at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 28.
Covenant House, 611 North Rampart Street – will accept males and females between the ages 16-21, their dependent children, and any female with dependent minor children. Mothers with small children may come anytime.
New Orleans Mission, 1130 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. – will only accept male or female adults beginning at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, January, 28.
All shelters are open free of charge to those seeking shelter during this period of inclement weather.
ROADWAYS AND BRIDGES
The City is working in cooperation with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) to prepare to clear roadways and bridges. Equipment and sand are staged and roadways will be maintained and open as long as weather conditions permit. Motorists should use extra caution when traveling during this time and should stay off the roads whenever possible. In case of any emergencies, motorists are encouraged to call 911.
The following roadways and bridges may be impacted or closed out of an abundance of caution if weather conditions deteriorate:
I-10 Twin Span Bridge (two lanes only, westbound; alternate route is U.S. 90)
I-310/Airline Interchange ramps
I-510 Bridge across the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, between U.S. 90 and St. Bernard Parish line
Crescent City Connection Bridge/U.S. 90 B HOV lanes
Danziger Bridge/U.S. 90 over Industrial Canal
Judge Seeber/Claiborne Avenue Bridge on La. 39
Ted Hickey/Seabrook Bridge on Leon C. Simon
La. 407/Lower Coast Algiers Bridge across Intracoastal Waterway
Orleans/St. Tammany Parishes
U.S. Highway 11 Bridge across Lake Pontchartrain
Huey P. Long Bridge/U.S. 90
Motorists can access the latest updates on real-time traffic and road conditions using the 511 Traveler Information System by dialing 511 from their telephone and saying the route or region about which they are seeking information. Out-of-state travelers can call 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511). Travelers can also access this information by visiting the 511 Traveler Information Web site at www.511la.org.
CITY FACILITIES CLOSED
The following City facilities will be closed for business on Tuesday, January 28 and Wednesday, January 29, 2014:
City Hall, 1300 Perdido Street
All New Orleans Recreation Department Commission facilities
All New Orleans Public Library branches
REGIONAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY (RTA)
On Tuesday, January 28, RTA will replace streetcar service with buses until further notice. At this time, RTA will continue to provide regular transit services to its riders until it is determined that weather conditions have deteriorated and it is too dangerous to be on the roads. Riders are encouraged to visit www.norta.com for service updates.
Regular garbage and recycling pickups have been suspended for Tuesday, January 28 and Wednesday, January 29, 2014.
SEWERAGE AND WATER BOARD
All 24 Sewerage and Water Board drainage pump stations are 100% operational.
The Sewerage and Water Board’s offices will be closed Tuesday, January 28 and Wednesday, January 29, 2014 but its call center will remain operational. In the case of emergency, residents are encouraged to call Sewerage and Water Board’s emergency line at 504-529-2837 (504-52WATER).
Residents are encouraged to not drain fats, oils, or greases which can build up in sewer pipes and cause blockages and backups.
According to Entergy, it has activated its emergency response center and is assembling a team of more than 2,100 restoration workers, some who are currently working in this area and the remainder being deployed to south Louisiana tonight and tomorrow morning in anticipation of ice-related outages.
Customers are encouraged to download the free Entergy app or go to www.entergy.com to sign up for text messages. Residents may call 1-800-9OUTAGE to report outages or downed power lines.
NEW ORLEANS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
The New Orleans International Airport is completely operational at this time and is in constant communication with the airlines. Travelers are encouraged to check individual airlines’ websites for latest information on delays and cancellations.
New Orleans hotels remain open. City officials are in contact with hotels and conventions in town in order to ensure safety of New Orleans visitors as well as New Orleans residents. The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau provide hospitality updates on their website at https://www.facebook.com/NewOrleansCVB.
NOLA 311 will begin operating 24 hours a day starting at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 until further notice. Residents are encouraged to call NOLA 311 for general information and to report non-life threatening emergencies including downed tree limbs and power lines.
Citizens are encouraged to sign up for email and text message alerts by going to ready.nola.gov. This service allows City officials to contact citizens during emergencies, which includes life-threatening weather events, evacuation or shelter in place information, and other pertinent emergency information. In addition to the website, the City operates a Twitter handle: @nolaready.
IMPORTANT NUMBERS TO KNOW
For life threatening emergencies, call 911
To report a non-life threatening problem or to get information, call 311
For real-time traffic and road condition, call 511
Report downed traffic signals, call 504-821-2222
Sewerage and Water Boards 24/7 line, call 504-529-2837
To report power outages, call 1-800-968-8243 (1-800-9OUTAGE)
To report water emergencies, call 504-529-2837 (504-52WATER)