New Orleans Stands Ready For Tropical Storm Barry
A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for the New Orleans area. The City of New Orleans continues to prepare for Tropical Storm Barry, which will begin impacting the City this evening through Sunday.
“We are focusing on 8 p.m. this evening, asking people to stay at home and shelter in place," Mayor Cantrell said. "Have commodities and supplies to last you an upward of 72 hours. We are continuing to monitor heavy rainfall, storm surge, and levels of the Mississippi River."
The National Weather Service expects the primary impact from this system to be heavy rain, with rainfall totals currently predicted in the ten-to-20 inch range in New Orleans and locally higher amounts possible. The greatest risk for heavy rainfall currently will be tonight through Sunday. A Flash Flood Watch will continue to remain in effect.
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for areas outside of the levee system in Orleans Parish, including Venetian Isles, Lake Catherine, and Irish Bayou, with a surge between three to six feet possible. The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority (SLFPA) East will close the Highway 90 floodgate at 6:00 p.m. tonight or as conditions dictate. Due to the closure and anticipated high water on the roadways, public safety personnel will be unable to respond to calls for service. For this reason, the City of New Orleans is calling for a voluntary evacuation for these areas outside of levee protection.
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. SLFPA East and West are in the process of closing all flood gates in the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System.
Tropical Storm Force winds have already reached the Southeastern Louisiana coast. Strong winds are also expected locally in squalls today and through the weekend.
City Hall, the New Orleans Libraries, New Orleans Recreation Development facilities, and all administrative City agencies are closed Friday, July 12.
Public Safety Preparations Underway
The New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (NOHSEP) is monitoring and preparing for potential impacts from this system. Yesterday, President Trump approved the State's request for a federal emergency declaration ahead of Tropical Storm Barry. That includes Orleans Parish due to our earlier local declaration.
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 pre-staged 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 weather event 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 9-1-1 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 (NOFD) is well prepared for Tropical Storm Barry. Staffing has been increased 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 ten 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 https://nola.gov/nofd/safety/hurricane/.
The Orleans Parish Communication District (OPCD) has activated Level 2 staffing, increasing staffing by 50 percent and ensuring OPCD meets and maintains staffing needs during this state of emergency. Redundancies have been tested and are in place to ensure there are no interruptions of service. OPCD is in contact with the FCC and wireless providers to develop recovery strategies should there be a 9-1-1 outage. OPCD Executive Director and LA-TERTState Coordinator, Tyrell Morris, has placed the Telecommunicator Emergency Response Taskforce on Pre-Alert as Tropical Weather threatens the gulf region. Emergency Telecommunicators who wish to join the LA-TERT in anticipation of this storm should review therequirements and submit their application as soon as possible at https://www.njti-tert.org/. 9-1-1 services and 3-1-1 services will continue to be available 24/7 both by phone and the Web.
The New Orleans Health Department remains committed to protecting the health and safety of our residents with medical and mobility needs. Please do a last-minute check for yourself, family, friends and neighbors to make sure that you have all of your medications, have charged your electric scooter, have sufficient oxygen, and attended any last minute dialysis appointments. If you have not done so, you can still go online at http://specialneeds.nola.gov or call 311 to enroll in the Special Needs Registry. Our call center is open 24/7 and will remain open during the duration of the event. Family members out of town can also call or go online to register loved ones. We are prepared to assist people who are unable to stay in their homes due to power outages. In addition, we have spoken with all of the local hospitals and healthcare facilities to ensure that they are prepared. At this time, all facilities are operating under normal operations.
The New Orleans Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has additional ambulances and resources deployed and ready to respond. EMS continues to stand ready. EMS has additional personnel and high water assets available and ready to respond to calls for service. EMS reminds the residents of New Orleans to call 9-1-1 only in the event of a life-threatening emergency. If they have any special medical needs or require assistance throughout this event, please contact 3-1-1.
Infrastructure Preparations Underway
All staffed pumping stations will have operators on duty throughout the event. Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (SWBNO) crews will constantly monitor all underpass pumping stations. All turbines are available for use. SWBNO is taking the proactive step today to shut down an electrical feeder that could be damaged by the impact of storm surge on an already high Mississippi River. This will protect essential infrastructure, but it does limit the power supply to one drainage pump station. One of the smaller pumps at that station, DPS 11 in Lower Coast Algiers, will not be available during this storm. We will be able to power the remaining three drainage pumps. This decision brings the total number of available pumps to 117. This station will operate at 85% capacity, but we do not anticipate a significant impact to our drainage capabilities in that area. That drainage basin has a significant amount of green space that can detain rain water. The Sewerage & Water Board Emergency Operations Center is fully staffed and all essential personnel are present and ready to make decisions at a moment’s notice. 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 has announced the restoration of service outages, caused by Wednesday's storm event, in advance of the arrival of Tropical Storm Barry. Entergy is prepared to respond to additional power outages caused in the New Orleans area due to the storm. 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 (DPW) has and will continue to clean and unclog catch basins, as well as flush drain lines in flood-prone areas.
Today, 12 vac truck crews operating across the city, including seven emergency crews from Compliance EnviroSystems LLC and three emergency crews from Blue Flash Express LLC.
For active construction projects, DPW is continuing to work with its contractors to ensure that sites are secured.
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. As of this morning, there are 58 flooded vehicles in our facility. Residents whose vehicles have been moved should call 3-1-1 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 Safety and Permits (DSP) is advising all construction projects to take the following protective actions in advance of any potential tropical weather activity:
- Remove construction materials from the perimeter of the building and tie them down. This includes smaller items such as tools to larger items such as dumpsters, portable bathrooms and event equipment.
- Secure steel frames, metal decks, planks and plywood to supportive structures.
- Provide shoring and bracing for areas under construction or demolition.
- Cover electrical equipment from exposure to the weather.
- Secure netting, scaffolding and sidewalk sheds.
- Suspend crane operations and secure crane equipment when wind speeds reach 30 mph or greater.
- Suspend hoist operations and secure exterior hoists when wind speeds reach 35 mph or greater, unless manufacturer specifications state otherwise.
- Brace and secure construction fences and check that silt fences are properly buried and staked.
- Cover dirt stock piles.
- Clear all storm drains or inlet filters on or near the construction site.
A major factor in urban flooding is debris clogging storm drains. DSP asks that any storm drains near job sites are free of any debris and that any potential wind-or water-borne materials or debris are removed from the job site or secured in advance of any weather systems. Do not place construction materials or debris on the curb.
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 33 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. Garbage and recycling collections will occur as scheduled. On Saturday, garbage and recycling collections will be suspended as follows:
Outside of the French Quarter and Downtown Development District:
- Metro Service Group and Richard’s Disposal
Inside of the French Quarter and Downtown Development District:
- Empire Services - Saturday / Sunday Evening Collection
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. Residents are advised not to place debris from Wednesday's storm event curbside until Monday (7/15), weather permitting. Additionally, the Recycling Drop Off Center at 2829 Elysian Fields Avenue will be closed on Saturday, July 13, 2019.
Transportation Services Preparations Underway
The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (NORTA) 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. Ahead of the storm, ferry crews have secured all ferryboats and raised ferry landings.
RTA will suspend service at 8 p.m. The RTA anticipates service will be suspended through Saturday and is expected to resume Sunday morning, weather permitting. Paratransit service is being provided as medically necessary.
All services at Union Passenger Terminal (UPT) will be suspended pending the weather, and the facility will be closed. The following carriers will be suspending services:
- Amtrak will be suspending train services Thursday and Friday. Visit amtrak.com/stations/nol or call 1-800-872-7245 for service updates.
- Greyhound will suspend bus services starting at Midnight Thursday until Sunday. Please visit greyhound.com or call 1-800-231-2222 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 1-877-462-6342.
Residents encouraged to prepare for rain and review hurricane plans
Gather emergency supplies
- Non-perishable food for 3 days
- 3 gallons of water per person
- Week’s supply of prescription medications
- Manual can opener
- Flashlight & extra batteries
- Matches or lighter
- First Aid Kit
- Radio (battery operated or hand crank)
- Books & games
Clean your property and street
- Remove leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts.
- Sweep, bag, and throw away leaves and debris from in front of catch basins.
- Call 3-1-1 to report catch basins that are not functioning.
- Do not lift a catch basin lid or insert anything into a catch basin.
- Prune trees and shrubs.
- Bring outdoor furniture and decorations inside.
- Secure or bring garbage bins inside.
Stay connected and pay attention
- Sign up for text updates. Text BARRY to 888777.
- Follow @nolaready on social media.
See updates on ready.nola.gov