Jul 112019
 

Tropical Storm Barry churns in the Gulf. New Orleans can expect to feel Barry’s impact as early as Friday morning. (National Hurricane Center)

From the Mayor’s Office

A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for the New Orleans area. The city continues to prepare for Tropical Storm Barry, which is likely to impact the New Orleans area as early as Friday morning and through Sunday.

“Heed every single warning coming from the City of New Orleans. We have to be prepared for all impacts,” Mayor LaToya Cantrell said. “Gather your supplies, secure your property and make preparations to shelter in place.”

The National Weather Service expects the primary impact from this system to be heavy rain, with rainfall totals currently predicted in the 10-to-20 inch range in New Orleans and locally higher amounts possible. The greatest risk for heavy rainfall currently appears to be Friday through Sunday. A Flash Flood Watch will continue to remain in effect.

“We are continuing monitoring levels of the Mississippi River and the potential for storm surge in the river,” Cantrell said. “While it is uncertain what the impact will be, we will be affected and we need to be prepared.”

Elevated tides are possible and coastal flooding may be a problem in some areas beginning Friday. A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for areas outside of the levee system in Orleans Parish.

Effects of storm surge have the potential to increase the Mississippi River stage to 19 feet at the Carrollton Gauge on Saturday. The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Warning for the Mississippi River including the New Orleans area through Saturday, July 13. The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority is closing flood gates along the river, all of which will be closed by Thursday evening.

Strong winds are also expected in squalls Friday and through the weekend. Wind strength will depend on track and development and the most likely arrival of tropical storm-force winds is Friday morning, but could be as early as Thursday evening.

City Hall, the New Orleans libraries, New Orleans Recreation Development facilities, and all administrative City agencies will be closed Friday.

Public safety

The New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is monitoring and preparing for potential impacts from this system. Two emergency declarations have been filed — one for yesterday’s rain event and another for the potential impacts we may see from the tropical system.

NOHSEP will activate the City’s Emergency Operations Center through the duration of this event. Representatives from public safety, infrastructure, and human services agencies will be in the Emergency Operations Center 24/7 to monitor and respond to storm-related incidents. Additionally, the Real-Time Crime Center will continue its normal 24/7 operations and will assist in monitoring real-time weather impacts across the city.

The New Orleans Police Department and New Orleans Fire Department have prestaged barricades in flood-prone areas to prevent drivers from entering high water. The I-610 East exit to Franklin Avenue remains closed due to flooding in the area.

As the storm approaches, additional exits along the interstates may be closed if flooding makes streets impassable.

Residents are reminded to never drive through flooded areas and to call 911 to report major flooding on the road. Motorists who drive faster than 5 mph on streets with standing water are subject to fines.

A map of reported street flooding is available at streetwise.nola.gov. Additionally, NOPD will deploy high-water vehicles and boats to districts, as needed.

The New Orleans ICE Field Office has confirmed they will temporarily suspend immigration enforcement in the storm-impacted area.

The New Orleans Fire Department has increased staffing for the storm, and boats and high-water vehicles are available and in service. Residents are reminded to turn off any propane tanks that are secured to barbecue pits or elsewhere. Portable generators should be used outdoors in a well-ventilated location at least 10 feet from any structure and away from doors, windows or openings in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning from generator exhaust.

Do not try to power your house with a portable generator; this is extremely dangerous. This can back-feed to the power grid causing harm to utility workers, your neighbors and firefighters.

Please have a battery-operated flashlight on hand, and use extreme caution when using candles or kerosene lamps. For more information on fire safety during and after a storm, visit this site.

The Orleans Parish Communication District has increased staffing by 50 percent. 911 services and 311 services will continue to be available 24/7.

The New Orleans Health Department is asking everyone to prepare to shelter in place. Power outages are possible with this storm and people with electrically dependent medical equipment, or their family members, should go online at specialneeds.nola.gov or call 311 to enroll in the Special Needs Registry. NOHD’s call center is open 24/7 and will remain open during the duration of the storm. Family members out of town can also call or go online to register loved ones.

NOHD is prepared to assist people who are unable to stay in their homes due to power outages. In addition, all local hospitals and health care facilities are operating under normal operations. The New Orleans Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has additional ambulances and resources ready to respond.

Infrastructure preparations

All staffed pumping stations will have operators on duty throughout the event. Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans crews will monitor all underpass pumping stations. All turbines and all but two of the city’s 120 drainage and constant-duty pumps are available, including all major drainage pumps capable of pumping 1,000 cubic feet of water per second (cfs) or more.

While our drainage pumps will pump one inch of water in the first hour and half an inch thereafter, the impacts of Tropical Storm Barry are expected to outpace our system. Depending on where the heavy rainfall takes place, residents should expect flooding. We continue to maintain and operate the water and sewer systems under normal conditions.

Entergy Louisiana is working safely and quickly to restore service in advance of the arrival of the storm. Parts of Louisiana, including the New Orleans area, have already experienced power outages.

Entergy is prepared to respond to additional power outages caused in the New Orleans area due to Tropical Storm Barry. More information is available at entergystormcenter.com. Residents can download the app at entergyapp.com and sign up for text alerts by texting REG to 368374.

The Department of Public Works will continue to clean and unclog catch basins, as well as flush drain lines in flood-prone areas. For active construction projects, DPW is working with its contractors to ensure that they are securing their sites.

Parking restrictions on neutral grounds and sidewalks remain suspended until further notice. Residents are reminded not to block intersections or streetcar tracks.

DPW will continue to remove stranded vehicles that are making roadways impassable. DPW had 70 vehicles in its facility Thursday. Residents whose vehicles have been moved should call 311 for information on retrieval. Residents with stranded vehicles that are impeding the roadway are expected to move their vehicles to the side of the road, preferably a parking lane, immediately.

The Department of Parks and Parkways is responding to tree emergencies and will continue to do so throughout the storm event. As of this morning, the Department of
Parks and Parkways has responded to 15 emergencies. Additionally, the department is monitoring major corridors and parks and removing debris that could become projectiles.

The Sanitation Department today will continue to remove debris on public property in coordination with other departments and agencies. On Friday, garbage and recycling collections will occur as scheduled.

Residents and small businesses are reminded that they are to secure their carts on their properties between collections. There should not be any carts/bins, bags or other debris curbside when collections are not scheduled to occur. The Recycling Drop Off Center at 2829 Elysian Fields Avenue will be closed on Saturday, July 13.

Transportation

The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority will provide service alerts to the public, via the GoMobile app, website, social media, and Ride Line at 504-248-3900. Due to inclement weather, the RTA ferry services and streetcar services are being replaced with bus services.

RTA will continue to provide ongoing services, weather permitting. Services will be suspended if roads are impassable and will resume once they are safe.

As of Thursday, the following Carriers will be suspending services:

  • Amtrak will be suspending train services Thursday and Friday. Visit amtrak.com/stations/nol or call 800-872-7245 for service updates.
  • Greyhound will suspend bus services starting at Midnight Thursday until Sunday. Please visit greyhound.com or call 800-231-2222 for service updates.
  • Megabus has suspended services Thursday and Friday and will evaluate Saturday morning and weekend services. Please check with carriers by website at us.megabus.com or call 877-462-6342.
Stay informed
  • Sign up for text updates. Text BARRY to 888777.
  • Follow @nolaready on social media.
  • See updates on ready.nola.gov.

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