Orleans Parish: Hurricane Nate Preps

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has called for a mandatory curfew in the city of New Orleans starting at 6 pm Saturday.

UPDATE: RTA to suspend services at 7 pm Saturday.

NEW ORLEANS – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu provided an update on Tropical Storm Nate.

According to the National Weather Service, Nate has shifted slightly eastward, but the Hurricane Watch has been upgraded to a Hurricane Warning for Orleans Parish. Nate is expected to move into the Gulf of Mexico this evening, form into a hurricane and potentially approach the Louisiana coast by the evening of Saturday, October 7.

While still uncertain, the latest forecast shows Nate strengthening and producing heavy winds and above-average rainfall in the area beginning Saturday afternoon through Sunday, October 8. The current forecast indicates 3-6 inches of rain over the duration of the system. Our greatest threats from this system are strong winds and storm surge.

New Orleans could see winds between 50 and 80 mph starting Saturday, and a strong wind event can cause significant power outages.Isolated tornadoes may also develop as Nate makes landfall. 

Additionally, New Orleans is currently under a Storm Surge Warning. Areas outside of levee protection such as Venetian Isles, Lake Catherine, and Irish Bayou could see 6-9 feet of storm surge. Given this threat, Mayor Landrieu has ordered a mandatory evacuation for Venetian Isles, Lake Catherine and Irish Bayou. Because nearby floodgates will be closing, residents are encouraged to evacuate the area by noon tomorrow, October 7. 

The National Weather Service has cautioned that the majority of the serious impact and storm surge will likely occur overnight. Considering overnight impact, Mayor Landrieu instituted a mandatory curfew that will begin Saturday evening at 7 p.m. and end Sunday morning after the storm has passed. The public is asked to shelter in place throughout the duration of the tropical weather. Individuals traveling to and from work or essential safety personnel will be allowed to travel on the streets as long as it is safe to do so. The public is advised that beyond a certain point weather conditions will make it impossible for first responders to answer emergency calls. Also, public transit operations will cease once winds exceed 35 mph for rider safety.

Starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, residents are allowed to park on the neutral ground and sidewalks, as long as vehicles do not block intersections, streetcar tracks or travel lanes, until further notice. From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow, there will be no parking on Canal Street on both sides from Rendon Street to Clark Street and on Jefferson Davis Parkway on both sides from Cleveland Avenue to Iberville Street. The Department of Public Works will be towing cars parked in these areas during this time.

Residents should prepare to shelter in place with essential supplies including food, water, and medications.

As always during Hurricane Season, residents are reminded to make a plan and to have at least three days’ worth of supplies, including water, food, and medications on hand. To see tips on how to make a plan, visit https://ready.nola.gov/plan/hurricane/#prepare.

The City’s Emergency Operation Center has been activated and all departments and agencies continue to execute their emergency plans.

Yesterday, October 5, Mayor Landrieu declared a state of emergency for New Orleans ahead of Tropical Storm Nate, reminding residents to shelter in place on Saturday and Sunday.

City Working with Local, State and Federal Partners on Preparations

Throughout this event, the City is working with local, federal and state partners such as Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), Louisiana National Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers to understand the risks, vulnerabilities, and how the City can keep residents safe, which is our top priority.  

Additionally, Mayor Landrieu has led three tabletop briefings since October 5 with the National Weather Service and City officials on Tropical Storm Nate.

Closure of City Hall, City facilities

Out of an abundance of caution and for the protection of life and property, City Hall and other City facilities closed today at 5 p.m. and will be closed through Sunday.

City Assets

The City currently has nearly 40 boats and over 20 high-water vehicles along with other rescue supplies staged at various fire and police stations, as well as four high-water vehicles and two boats stationed at Emergency Medical Services (EMS) headquarters.

The New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) will continue normal operations while also preparing to respond to Nate. Beginning today at 7 a.m., all NOPD personnel are on callback status, all active personnel or personnel on leave will contact their commanders for reporting instructions every 24 hours. All non-emergency annual leave will be canceled.

Beginning at 6 p.m. on Saturday, NOPD will stage barricades at underpasses to prepare for any overnight flooding. Currently, NOPD has pre-staged 146 brand new barricades in flood-prone areas to prevent drivers from going into areas with high water. These barricades are designed for high visibility and auto traffic. Barricades and equipment are positioned and ready to be put in place at: Downman Road & Haynes Blvd., Gentilly Blvd. & Peoples Ave., Franklin Ave. & I-610 East and West, Gentilly Blvd. & Paris Ave. (Popeyes), Paris Ave. & Gentilly Blvd. (Parisite Skate Park), St. Bernard Ave & I-610 Exit, N. Broad St.  & A.P. Turead Ave., Marconi Drive & Roosevelt Mall St., Canal Blvd. & Navarre Ave., Tulane Ave. & S. Carrollton Ave., Metairie Road & Pontchartrain Blvd., Gen. De Gaulle Drive & Hwy. 90, Gen. De Gaulle Drive & Woodland Drive, Press Drive & L. C. Simon Drive, and the I-10 Carrollton Off-Ramp.          

Get Prepared

Because of the wind threat associated with Nate, the City is strongly urging residents to secure all outdoor furniture, loose debris, and garbage cans which can turn into projectiles during high winds. No debris and garbage should be left on the curbs.

The City urges all New Orleans residents and businesses to stay prepared and informed as hurricane season continues. The City is committed to ensuring the safety of all residents, and the public is encouraged to help spread the word and make the entire community better prepared.

Develop a plan in advance to ensure that every family member knows what to do, who to call and where to go during an emergency. For more preparedness tips, visit https://ready.nola.gov/plan/hurricane/.

Out of an abundance of caution, the City’s emergency and operational departments are conducting preparation measures. Any changes in storm track and intensity could change the impacts for our area, so residents are advised to stay tuned to NOLA Ready and the National Weather Service for updates.

Sandbag Locations

Today, New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD) has distributed 17,000 free sandbags. Sandbags are available at the following stations 24 hours a day until it is no longer safe for personnel to do so:

  • 987 Robert E. Lee Blvd.
  • 2000 Martin Luther King Blvd.
  • 4115 Woodland Ave.
  • 2118 Elysian Fields Ave.
  • 5403 Read Road

Update on Drainage System

The Sewerage and Water Board (S&WB) is working closely with New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and the Mayor's Office to monitor Tropical Storm Nate. S&WB and its contractors continue to work around the clock to repair all power and pumps to stabilize and strengthen the City's drainage system. This morning, S&WB crews brought a 250 CFS pump back online at DPS 20 and it’s now available for service bringing this drainage pumping station to 100% capacity. Since August, S&WB has repaired seven drainage pumps and two turbines. At this time, 109 of 120 drainage pumps are fully operational. Turbines 1, 3 and 6 are available for service with additional power being provided by 26 backup generators which were mobilized under emergency declaration. In addition to generators, S&WB has brought in three additional rented pumps, one at DPS 5 and two at DPS 7. Additionally, S&WB is in the process of installing five Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) Generators at the Carrollton Water Plant and are scheduled to be available for service in the coming weeks.

S&WB has 182 personnel prepared, including 140 pump operators and 42 support personnel, to staff pump stations.

Updates on pump availability can be found at www.swbno.org

Entergy New Orleans

Entergy’s Louisiana utilities are prepared for the likelihood of heavy rain and tropical storm-force winds as Tropical Storm Nate accelerates on a projected path toward southeast Louisiana, which could lead to power outages in southern Louisiana. Entergy has 1,800 personnel, including Entergy's line crews and contractors, on alert and ready to safely restore service to customers as quickly as possible.

Depending on the severity of the storm and damage to the electrical system, it may take up to seven days following landfall before power is restored to 90 percent of customers. Once the storm passes, Entergy will be able to fully assess the damage and will have more information to share.

Customers should visit the Entergy Storm Center website for planning tools that can help guide you through the decisions you need to make. Operation: Storm Ready is a free downloadable guide that helps customers plan and prepare for weather emergencies.

Extended Hours for Catch Basin Cleanings

The Department of Public Works (DPW) increased its manpower to clean and unclog catch basins and flush drain lines 7 a.m.-6 p.m., seven days a week. Fourteen vacuum trucks are in service currently, including DPW and its contractors. Since the beginning of 2017, a total of 7,260 catch basins have been cleaned in New Orleans, including 4,320 since August. DPW and its contractors will continue working as long as weather conditions permit.

In advance of heavy rainfall, remove leaves, grass and other visible debris in front and near catch basin openings, and place lawn clippings in garbage cans and never blow or sweep them down a catch basin. To reduce risk of street flooding, do not park in front of or on a catch basin, and do not dispose of anything in a catch basin. Call 311 to report catch basins that are not fully functioning. Residents should avoid lifting a catch basin lid or inserting anything into a catch basin. 

Three simple steps to improve drainage: 

1. Remove leaves, grass and other visible debris in front of the catch basin opening and nearby area, especially before a rain storm.

2. Place lawn clippings in garbage cans, and never blow, or sweep them down the catch basin.

3. Encourage your neighbors to do the same.

Read the Just Rain Down the Drain guide.

Hotels and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport

The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is restricting its parking garages to ticketed passengers only. Anyone traveling out or coming to pick someone up should bring a copy of the flight reservation to gain access to the garages. If you are traveling in the coming days, please check your airline’s website for any possible delays or cancellations prior to coming to the Airport. 

New Orleans hotels remain open. City officials are in contact with hotels and conventions in town through the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (NOCVB) in order to ensure safety of New Orleans visitors as well as New Orleans residents. 

Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East Floodgate Closures

All structures in the Flood Protection System, managed by The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East (Flood Protection Authority), are ready and fully operational. Of the 252 floodgates within the system, 178 of the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS) gates will close by Saturday afternoon. Of the 74 river gates, 36 are always closed and the Authority does not anticipate closing the remaining 38 at this time.

The Flood Protection Authority is activating its Emergency Operations Center today and will remain open 24/7 throughout the duration of the storm. The Flood Authority will have the drainage pump operators stationed in the Lake Borgne Basin Levee District staffed 24/7 starting Saturday afternoon.

This afternoon, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) Lake Borgne Sector Gate and the Seabrook Complex gate closed. This evening, the Lakeshore Drive and West End floodgates will close. Tomorrow morning, the following floodgates will close: Bonnabel Blvd. at Lake Pontchartrain, Williams Blvd. at Lake Pontchartrain, Lakefront Airport, Highway 90, and Highway 11.

For current closures, visit http://floodauthority.org/closures/

NORD Recreation Centers and Facilities

All New Orleans Recreation Development (NORD) Commission recreation centers and facilities will be closed starting tomorrow until further notice.

Closures of Parks

The following parks will be closed Saturday and Sunday: Jackson Square, Louis Armstrong Park, Washington Square, Mississippi River Heritage Park, Joseph Bartholomew Golf Course, and Brechtel Park. All parks will re-open Monday at their regularly scheduled time unless further impacted by weather-related issues.    

New Orleans Public Libraries

All New Orleans Public Libraries closed today at 5 p.m., will be closed tomorrow and Sunday, and are scheduled to re-open Monday at 10 a.m.

Sanitation Collection            

Regular garbage and recycling service will continue as scheduled until further notice as weather permits. Residents are reminded that it is their responsibility to secure all garbage and recycling carts, on their property, after collections. There may be a cost associated with obtaining a replacement garbage cart and there will be a cost to obtain a replacement recycling cart.

New Orleans Regional Transit Authority

New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) is making pre-storm preparations under their hurricane preparedness plan. Currently, all buses are operating their regular schedules. If sustained winds exceed 35 mph or roads become impassable, RTA transit services will be discontinued to protect the safety of the riding community. Paratransit services will continue regularly scheduled pickups through 7 p.m. tomorrow. Public notice will be sent out detailing service interruptions as weather conditions change.

Beginning at 5:15 a.m. tomorrow, all streetcars will be replaced with buses. The Riverfront streetcar will operate from 5:15 a.m.-10 a.m. The Riverfront line will shut down at 10 a.m. so RTA can begin banking its fleet of “Red Lady” streetcars along the line.

As mandated by the U.S. Coast Guard, ferry services will be suspended starting tomorrow morning until further notice. Ferry crews are on standby to service and secure all equipment, vessels and landings should the weather conditions require Ferry revenue services be suspended.

The Cemeteries Transit Center project team will secure all equipment and construction materials and ensure all approved traffic controls are in place. 

Visit www.norta.com for more information and follow @NewOrleansRTA on Twitter and Facebook for the most up-to-date information on any RTA storm-related detours, or call the Customer Care Rideline at (504) 248-3900.

Previously Scheduled Events over Next Few Days

Mayor Landrieu and the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Engagement’s District C Catch Basin Cleaning Day scheduled for tomorrow will be postponed until further notice. The Catch Basin Cleaning Days will resume on Saturday, Oct. 14 in District B. For more information on the Catch Basin Cleaning Days, visit https://www.nola.gov/mayor/press-releases/2017/20170925-pr-city-partners-with-neighborhood-and-co/

The New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (NOHSEP) announced that the full-scale active shooter exercise scheduled for Monday, Oct. 9 has been postponed. The City will notify residents of the rescheduled date of the exercise in the coming days.

Normal Hours for 311

Residents are encouraged to call 311 for general information and to report non-life threatening emergencies. 311 will be open 24/7 starting 7 a.m. tomorrow.

Sign up for Special Needs Registry 

The City is also encouraging individuals who require special assistance during emergencies to enroll in its Special Needs Registry. The registry does not guarantee assistance, but allows first responders to appropriately plan for, prepare for and respond to community needs. 

The Special Needs Registry includes all individuals, regardless of age, with a chronic condition, disability, special healthcare need, or who may require additional assistance during an emergency. These include those who:

  • Use life support systems such as oxygen, respirator, ventilator, dialysis, pacemaker, or are insulin dependent;
  • Have mobility disabilities and use a wheelchair, scooter, walker, cane, or other mobility device;
  • Are visually impaired, blind, hard of hearing, or deaf;
  • Have speech, cognitive, developmental or mental health disabilities; and,
  • Use assistive animals or a prosthesis.

A family member, caregiver, or authorized representative can enroll an individual on their behalf. Residents may enroll in the Special Needs Registry by calling 311.  

Stay Informed

Residents are encouraged to text “NATE” to 888-777 to receive updates from the City of New Orleans on Tropical Storm Nate.

Additionally, residents are advised to look for updates regularly posted on ready.nola.gov, on Twitter @NOLAReady, and on Facebook @NOLAReady. Sign up for NOLA Ready alerts, which will notify residents of emergency situations, at www.nola.gov/ready/alert/.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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