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Freeze warnings for all of southeast Louisiana Saturday night to Sunday morning

After a frigid start to Saturday, temperatures could fall a few degrees lower for Sunday morning.

NEW ORLEANS — The National Weather Service in New Orleans has issued freeze warnings for all of southeast Louisiana as temperatures are expected to drop dangerously below freezing across the region.

For areas north of Lake Pontchartrain and river parishes, along with the Houma and Thibodaux areas: a hard freeze warning will go into effect from 11 p.m. Saturday until 9 a.m. Sunday with temperatures as low as 22°F possible.

Parishes south of the lake and along the coast: A freeze warning will go into effect from 11 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Saturday with temperatures as low as 28°F possible.

Frost and freeze conditions could possibly damage unprotected outdoor pipes and kill cold-sensitive plants. The NWS says residents should take steps now to protect plants and outdoor water pipes should be wrapped, drained, or allowed to drip slowly. People who have in-ground sprinkler systems should drain them and cover above-ground pipes to protect them from freezing.

The extreme temperatures are expected to last for a couple of days with freeze watches in effect for all of the areas Saturday evening into Sunday morning.

Current Warnings:

Hard Freeze Warning:

  • Parishes: St. James, St. John the Baptist, northern Terrebonne, northern Lafourche, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Washington
  • 11 PM Saturday to 9 AM Sunday
  • Temperatures: Sub-freezing temperatures as low as 22°F

Freeze Warning:

  • Parishes: Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, lower Terrebonne, lower Lafourche
  • 11 PM Saturday to 9 AM Sunday
  • Temperatures: Sub-freezing temperatures as low as 28°F

How to Protect Your Home

In order to protect your home and your family, there are things you should be doing now to prepare.

One thing that's a must, is wrapping your water lines to prevent them from freezing. Those pipes are outside your home or in the garage. If you have a kitchen or bathroom sink on an exterior wall, it never hurts to wrap those lines as well. Things like pipe insulation, heat tape and other helpful items can be bought at any local hardware store. Newspapers and towels also work well, just make sure it's wrapped and taped tight.

Another home remedy is keeping a steady drip going which can also help keep pipes from freezing.

As temperatures drop, heaters turn on, which could make your energy bill go up. To help save you money:

  • Close doors and windows, and seal or cover spots under them where air may escape.
  • Rotate ceiling fans clockwise so cold air doesn't blow down on you.
  • If possible, keep your thermostat at 68 degrees (since every degree above that can increase your bill by about 3%, and nobody wants that.
  • Utilize the sun, open blinds, and curtains, and let the sun in, which will help keep a space warm.

The most common cause of heater fires in Louisiana is portable space heaters, Louisiana Fire Marshal Butch Browning says. Make sure to plug a space heater directly into a wall, never leave them unattended, and make sure you keep them clear of anything that can burn.

One final tip: Make sure to check your home’s smoke alarms. If something does happen, a properly working smoke detector can save you and your family’s lives.

What to do if your pipes freeze

If you find yourself with frozen pipes, the American Red Cross has some suggestions on how to remedy the situation:

  • Keep the faucet open because as you treat the pipe and the freeze starts to melt, water will start to flow. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the section of the pipe by using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (though try and keep it away from flammable materials). You can also use a towel that's been soaked in hot water.
  • Apply the heat until full water pressure is back.
  • If the frozen area is not accessible, call a plumber.
  • If one pipe freezes, it's possible others have as well. So be sure to check all pipes.

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