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The City of New Orleans

Plan for Emergencies


Winter Weather

Even though we're so far south, New Orleans can see dangerous winter weather. Extreme cold, dense fog, and even ice & snow storms are possible during the winter months. Dangers from these weather conditions include unsafe roads, cold-related illness, fires, and power outages. When there's a winter weather risk in New Orleans, the National Weather Service issues alerts.

Freeze Warning: Air temperature is expected to be 32 degrees F or lower for a significant amount of time

Hard Freeze Warning: Air temperature is expected to be 25 degrees F or lower for long enough to freeze water pipes

Dense Fog Advisory: Widespread or localized fog reduces visibility to 1/4 mile or less

Winter Storm Warning: A mix of wintry precipitation (freezing rain or snow) is happening or is about to happen

Ice Storm Warning: Heavy freezing rain is happening or is about to happen

During extreme cold

Stay warm

  • Stay inside in heat during extreme cold.
  • If you are homeless, seek shelter. During extreme cold, the citywide freeze plan will offer free shelter for homeless residents.   
  • If you have to go outside, wear layers, a hat & gloves and carry a cell phone.
  • Check on neighbors, children, the elderly & chronically ill to make sure they are okay.
  • Bring pets inside.

Know the signs of cold-related illness

See a doctor immediately or go to the emergency room if you or someone you know has these symptoms:

Signs of Hypothermia 

  • Shivering or fumbling hands
  • Exhaustion or drowsiness
  • Confusion or memory loss
  • Slurred speech
  • Bright red, cold skin or very low energy in infants

Signs of Frostbite

  • Redness or pain in any skin area
  • White or grayish-yellow skin area
  • Skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
  • Numbness

Practice fire safety & prepare your home

During an ice storm, snow, or dense fog 

Stay informed & connected

  • Sign up for NOLA Ready Emergency Alerts and follow us on Twitter and Facebook
  • Stay tuned to your local news.
  • Know how to contact your loved ones, at work, at school, and at home.
  • Follow the instructions of emergency officials. 

Be careful on the road

  • Listen to emergency personnel and do what they say.
  • Stay off the road as much as possible.
  • If you must drive, use extreme caution during icy or foggy conditions. 
  • Take extra care on elevated roads, like bridges.

Prepare for power outages

  • Keep generators outside and away from your home.
  • Stay warm: wear warm clothes and go to a public place like a library, recreation center, or mall for temporary relief.
  • Use flashlights, not candles.
  • Preserve cell phone battery life. Texting saves battery life compared to calling.