Mayor Cantrell Updates Residents on Tropical Storm Gordon
NEW ORLEANS — Mayor LaToya Cantrell this morning updated residents on preparations for Tropical Storm Gordon as it continues its approach toward the Gulf Coast.
“We are all in this together. Please check on neighbors, family and friends. I’m asking all residents to do their part in getting ready for this storm. The City’s absolute, number one priority is to ensure the safety of our residents. We’ve worked all weekend to ensure that we’re prepared. Together, we’re ready for Gordon,” Mayor Cantrell said.
State of Emergency Declared
Both Mayor Cantrell and Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency for the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana, respectively, with only essential emergency personnel reporting for work. New Orleans residents are encouraged to get updates at ready.nola.gov.
Tropical Storm Gordon to Impact Gulf Coast Late Tuesday
The center of Gordon will move across the eastern Gulf Coast today and is expected to reach the central Gulf Coast by late this afternoon or evening, moving inland over the Mississippi River Valley tonight or early Wednesday. The maximum anticipated sustained winds are near 65 miles per hour (mph) with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is expected today, and Gordon will likely be a hurricane when it makes landfall along the central Gulf Coast. Rapid weakening is expected once Gordon moves inland.
Local impacts expected continue to be heavy rain, high winds and storm surge in areas outside the levee system. Heavy rain is likely with widespread rainfall totals of 4 to 8 inches over the next 3 days, with the heaviest rainfall coming this afternoon through Wednesday. There is the potential for significantly higher local amounts if rain bands move over an area for extended periods. A Flash Flood Watch remains in effect.
Tropical storm-force winds could reach the area as early as this afternoon, with the potential for winds of 40 to 70 mph. Scattered power and communication outages as well as downed trees and roadway signs are possible. A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect for the area.
A Storm Surge Watch remains in effect for coastal areas, with the possibility of 2 to 4 feet of surge. The City of New Orleans has issued a voluntary evacuation order for areas outside of the levee system, including Venetian Isles, Irish Bayou and Lake Catherine. A Coastal Flood Advisory is in effect for Lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas, with 1 to 2 feet of inundation possible.
City Prepared for Heavy Rain, Winds
The New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is actively working with our local, state and federal partners to monitor and prepare for potential impacts from this system.
The Sewerage & Water Board (SWB) staff continues to hold regular meetings to prepare for the incoming weather. The drainage system has 116 out of 120 pumps available, with a 1,000 cubic-feet-per-second pump back online for emergency use at Drainage Pumping Station 13 in Algiers. The agency can produce more than 77 megawatts (MW) of 25 Hz power – more than what is needed to run the entire drainage system. Turbines 3, 4, 5 and 6 are available to provide power, and turbine 1 is available for emergency use. Crews are standing by, ready to operate every large pump station and to monitor automated stations and pumps at underpasses.
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. 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 3-1-1 to report catch basins that are not fully functioning. Residents should avoid lifting a catch basin lid or inserting anything into a catch basin.
Also, parking restrictions on the neutral ground and metered parking enforcement will be suspended starting at 2 p.m. today.
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. 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 Health Department (NOHD) will be prepared to open a Medical Special Needs Shelter post-storm for people who cannot stay in their home due to power outages for their medical equipment. People who believe they need to go to the shelter should call 3-1-1. Residents who have medical or mobility issues should call 3-1-1 to register, update their information or if they have medical needs during the storm. The Special Needs Registry call center is open and will be available 24/7 through the storm.
The Real-Time Crime Center, which is staffed 24/7, utilizes the network of cameras citywide to provide situational awareness during severe weather to City leaders, emergency managers and first responders.
Residents are encouraged to prepare for rain and review hurricane plans. Gordon is moving quickly, and we could see impacts of wind and rain as early as this afternoon. Residents are encouraged to rush preparedness activities to completion this morning. Prepare your property for heavy rain and wind: clear gutters, downspouts and in front of catch basins; secure outdoor furniture, decorations and trash cans. You can move your vehicles to neutral grounds at 2pm. Please do not block intersections or streetcar tracks. Make sure you have bottled water, non-perishable food, medications and a flashlight.
When severe weather arrives, shelter in place at your home. Stay off the roads during heavy rain and high winds. Never drive through flooded areas, and call 911 to report major flooding or other life-threatening emergencies. Our 311 call center remains open for information and non-emergency services.
Find updated information about the storm at ready.nola.gov and on social media @nolaready. Sign up for emergency alerts by texting your zip code to 888777 or online at ready.nola.gov.
Additional City Departments Are Prepared
Parks & Parkways
Essential personnel are on alert and prepared to respond to emergencies as weather conditions allow. Forestry dump trucks have been emptied and readied for debris collection on both the East and West banks.
Trash and recycling collection will continue as scheduled today (Tuesday).
Sanitation will provide an update today for Wednesday, based on the updated weather forecast. However, service will NOT be provided Wednesday for areas outside the levee system, which include Lake Katherine, Highway 11 and Venetian Isles area, because the water has started rising already. The next scheduled collection day for this area is Saturday.
Generally, please secure your trash can and recycling carts BEFORE high winds and potential flooding so that they aren't carried away.
Construction & Road Work
All City contractors on active construction sites have been instructed to secure their job sites to prevent damage and minimize debris.
Department of Public Works (DPW)
Today through Thursday (Sept. 4-6): Five trucks are scheduled to be deployed (locations decided per DPW Maintenance Division and as needed per flooding reports).
New Orleans Schools
The Orleans Parish School Board has been in communication with school leaders across city. School has been cancelled for today (Tuesday). The Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) has advised public and school leaders that there will be an announcement today about Wednesday ASAP. The Archdiocese of New Orleans is also planning an announcement.
Other Agencies Are Prepared
Flood Protection Authority Prepares for Gate Closures
The Flood Protection Authority (FPA) – East continues to prepare for Tropical Storm Gordon. Seven floodgates are planned for closure (along Industrial Canal) plus the Caernarvon Sector Gate (St. Bernard). There is no planned closure of Highway 90, Highway 11 or lakefront floodgates. There will be continued coordination and communication with the Sewerage & Water Board on three Lakefront Permanent Pump Stations. Currently, there is no plan to operate these stations.
Gate closure alerts will continue to be sent out via the FPA alert system, which citizens can sign up for by following the AlertSense signup link at https://www.floodauthority.org.
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport Remains Open
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is conducting normal operations at this time. Delays and cancellation of flights will be decided by individual airlines. When sustained wind speeds are 40 mph or greater is typically when airlines cancel flight operations. Airport parking may be restricted to ticketed passengers only.
RTA Prepares Service Adjustments
RTA operations teams are preparing for possible service interruptions due to Tropical Storm Gordon. If sustained winds exceed 35 mph, or other conditions cause roads to become impassable, RTA transit services will be discontinued. RTA will send out public notices detailing service interruptions as weather conditions change. Ferries are currently operating on their normal weekday schedule. Teams are preparing for the storm and will monitor weather reports through the day today and tomorrow. Service alerts are available at http://www.norta.com/Maps-Schedules/Service-Alerts.aspx.
Entergy Prepares for Service Issues
Entergy is prepared to respond to any potential impacts Tropic Storm Gordon may bring to the area. Line and vegetation contractors are on standby, ready to respond immediately following the storm. Scouting teams are prepared to assess damages after the storm. Proactive communications with SWB leadership remain in place.
Entergy keeps customers informed about power outages and restored power in several ways:
A free app is available for iPhone or Android at entergyapp.com. Customers can use the app to report outages or check on the status of power at their homes or businesses.
Entergy’s outage map shows where outages are located and gives information about restoration progress.
Customers can send and receive text messages about storm and restoration efforts. Signing up is easy; simply text REG to 368374.
The Entergy Storm Center has storm safety, preparation, restoration and other information that is regularly updated.
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