Harvey Downgraded to Tropical Storm, City Remains Vigilant
Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, along with City Officials, provided an update on Tropical Storm Harvey. Harvey has been downgraded to a tropical storm today and is expected to hover over southeast Texas through the middle of next week. Harvey will continue to weaken. However, prolonged heavy rainfall remains the primary threat from the storm.
The National Weather Service predicts that, while still uncertain, the storm could produce heavy rainfall and potential flooding in the New Orleans area beginning Sunday and lasting through the week. The current forecast indicates 4 to 8 inches of rain in New Orleans through next week, although the potential for prolonged rain bands could double the amount of rain in isolated areas.
Any changes in 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.
As always during Hurricane Season, residents are reminded to make a plan. Remember that you could lose power, so plan for at least three days’ worth of supplies, including water, food, and medications.
Shelter in Place During Heavy Rainfall
Because Harvey is not forecasted to impact New Orleans directly, the City is not advising an evacuation at this time. Should conditions change, residents will be notified.
However, residents should prepare to shelter in place during heavy rainfall associated with Harvey.
During heavy rainfall, residents will be allowed to park on the neutral ground and sidewalks, as long as vehicles do not block intersections or streetcar tracks.
Should the need arise, the City is prepared to host residents at four shelters across New Orleans on both the West Bank and East Bank. Additionally, the New Orleans Health Department and Louisiana Department of Health is prepared to open a medical special needs shelter for medical special needs patients. In the event that there is a need for such a shelter, the City will announce the locations.
In anticipation of inclement weather, sandbags are available for pickup at the following New Orleans Fire Department stations until further notice:
- Station 13: 987 Robert E. Lee Blvd.
- Station 16: 2000 Martin Luther King Blvd.
- Station 17: 4115 Woodland Ave.
- Station 27: 2118 Elysian Fields Ave.
- Station 36: 5403 Read Road
The City’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, and New Orleans Fired Department have distributed 16,000 sandbags since starting sandbag distribution on August 14.
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, and EMS headquarters should the need for search and rescue arise. Additionally, today the 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.
These assets are backed by the full support of the State’s Search and Rescue Units including Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Office of State Fire Marshal.
Additionally, the City is working with FEMA to have MRE’s and water ready should there be a need.
City Working with Local, State and Federal Partners on Preparations
The City continues to work with local, federal and state partners such as FEMA, GOHSEP, Louisiana National Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers on understanding the current risks, vulnerabilities, and how the City can keep residents safe, which is our top priority.
Last week, Mayor Landrieu led a table top exercise with emergency personnel to ensure the City is closely monitoring all weather systems that could produce serious rain and to update our emergency plans. On Tuesday, Mayor Landrieu joined Governor John Bel Edwards in a meeting with FEMA Administrator Brock Long. The Mayor requested in that meeting that FEMA pre-position as many assets as possible on the ground in New Orleans in the event of a serious weather event. This type of coordination is standard for emergency teams during Hurricane Season.
Additionally, Mayor Landrieu participated in a seventh briefing this morning with the National Weather Service and City officials on Tropical Storm Harvey.
Update on Drainage System
S&WB and its contractors continue to work around the clock to repair all power and pumps. Yesterday, contractors completed repairs to another large drainage pump at Drainage Pump Station #6 which brings the total to four large pumps returned to service since August 6. Earlier this week, crews took one pump offline at Drainage Pump Station #11 to conduct scheduled repair services. At this time, 106 of the 120 pumps are available to be operational in the event of heavy rainfall.
Updates on pump availability can be found at www.swbno.org.
Additionally, S&WB has brought one turbine back online, and secured and mobilized 26 backup generators. The City has also secured contractors to provide additional manpower so that in the event of an incident, all stations will be properly manned. While the drainage capacity has improved since the August 5 flooding, the City’s drainage and pumping system remains in a state of diminished drainage pumping capacity until all turbines and pumps are fully restored.
On August 17, the City of New Orleans presented an approximately $26 million plan from Mayor Landrieu to clean and fix thousands of catch basins, provide an early warning system for underpass flooding and conduct a comprehensive analysis of the problems that led up to the July 22 and August 5 floods.
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 six days a week . Four vacuum trucks are in service currently. Since August 6, DPW has cleaned over 900 catch basins and more than 73,000 linear feet of drain lines. DOTD is also helping the City in cleaning the catch basins on the State routes.
DPW has received bids for contractors to conduct an additional $7 million in catch basin cleanings, and expects to award the contract by the end of the week.
In advance of heavy rainfall, remove leaves, grass and other visible debris in front of catch basin openings and nearby, 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. Call 311 to report catch basins that are not fully functioning. Avoid lifting a catch basin lid or inserting anything into a catch basin. Read the Just Rain Down the Drain guide.
Extended Hours for 311
Residents are encouraged to call 311 for general information and to report non-life threatening emergencies. Today, 311 has received 140 calls. 311 is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. until further notice.
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.
In total, 2,300 people have signed up for the Special Needs Registry, with 110 people registering during Tropical Storm Harvey.
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 or by visiting ready.nola.gov.
NORD Pool Closures
All New Orleans Recreation Development (NORD) Commission outdoor pools are closed. Indoor pools will operate as normal. NORD’s administrative office (5420 Franklin Ave, New Orleans, LA 70122) and all recreation centers will remain open. All public meetings will continue as scheduled.
Residents are encouraged to text “HARVEY” to 888-777 to receive updates from the City of New Orleans on Tropical Storm Harvey.
Additionally, residents are advised to look for updates regularly posted on ready.nola.gov, on Twitter @NOLAReady, and on Facebook @NOLAReady.
Additionally, sign up for NOLA Ready alerts, which will notify residents of emergency situations.