Here's what you need to know about New Orleans storm preps

Here's what you need to know about New Orleans storm preps

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, along with City Officials, provided an update on Tropical Storm Harvey. On Saturday, Harvey was downgraded to a tropical storm and is expected to drift southeast just off the mid-Texas coast through tonight and will then move northeast through Wednesday morning with minimal strengthening. Mayor Landrieu is advising residents to stay home and shelter in place tomorrow due to heavy rainfall associated with Harvey.

Sewerage and Water Board offices will also be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, Aug. 29. Only essential personnel from all City agencies and S&WB will report to work.  Additionally, regular garbage and recycling service will continue tomorrow as long as it is safe to do so.

Heavy rainfall remains the primary concern for New Orleans through the week, with stronger storms possible overnight through Wednesday. A total of 5 to 10 inches of rainfall is expected throughout the week, although rain bands could produce considerably more rain in isolated areas. Higher winds should also be anticipated in these rain bands.

Some of the rainfall will likely occur in short periods of time potentially leading to flash flooding. Currently, a Flash Flood Watch is in effect in the New Orleans area through Thursday. Additionally, a Tornado Watch is in effect for New Orleans through midnight tonight.

Residents are allowed to park on the neutral ground and sidewalks, as long as vehicles do not block intersections or streetcar tracks. As always during Hurricane Season, residents are reminded to make a plan and to have at least three days' worth of supplies, including water, food, and medications on hand.

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.

City Hall, NORD Facilities to Close Tuesday

Today, the City of New Orleans announced that City Hall, NORD facilities and other City offices will be closed Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, in anticipation of heavy rainfall.

Emergency personnel will operate as normal and will not be affected by this closure.

The City will provide an update on when normal business hours will resume as soon as that information becomes available.

School Schedules

In anticipation of heavy rainfall, the following schools will be closed tomorrow:

  • All Orleans Parish School Board schools
  • All Recovery School District schools
  • All Archdiocese of New Orleans schools
  • Delgado Community College
  • Dillard University
  • Loyola University of New Orleans
  • LSU Health Sciences Center
  • Tulane University
  • University of New Orleans
  • Xavier University of Louisiana

For updates on school closure information, visit ready.nola.gov.

Update on Drainage System

Sewerage & Water Board (S&WB) and its contractors continue to work around the clock to repair all power and pumps. Today, contractors completed repairs to another large drainage pump at the Lower Coast Algiers Station, however Pump C at Drainage Pump Station 6, which was recently repaired, went down again today. Crews have already been dispatched to repair it again. 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.

S&WB has also brought one turbine back online, scheduled another turbine to return to service tomorrow 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 has continually improved since the August 5 flooding, the City's drainage and pumping system remains in a state of diminished drainage pumping capacity until 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. The funding also allowed for the Department of Homeland Security to preposition assets in advance of Harvey.

How to Help Texans Affected by Hurricane Harvey

Today, the City of New Orleans, in partnership with the Greater New Orleans Foundation, reactivated the NOLA Pay it Forward Fund to provide support to affected areas in Texas and Southwest Louisiana. Those interested in donating to the fund can go online to www.gnof.org/nolapayitforward/ external link. Donors can also contact Allie Betts, donor relations manager at the Greater New Orleans Foundation, at 504-598-4663 or allie@gnof.org.

For other ways to assist Texans impacted by Hurricane Harvey, visit http://ready.nola.gov/incident/harvey/texas-recovery/

Sandbag Locations

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 Fire Department have distributed over 35,800 sandbags since starting sandbag distribution on August 14.

City Assets

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, the NOPD 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

Throughout this event, the City is working with local, federal and state partners such as FEMA, GOHSEP, Louisiana National Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers to understand the risks, vulnerabilities, and how the City can keep residents safe, which is our top priority.

Additionally, Mayor Landrieu participated in a ninth briefing this afternoon with the National Weather Service and City officials on Tropical Storm Harvey.

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 August 22, 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.

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 1,170 catch basins and more than 76,000 linear feet of drain lines. On Friday, August 25, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development began assisting in the City's efforts by cleaning catch basins along State routes.

DPW has received bids for contractors to conduct an additional $7 million in catch basin cleanings, and expects to award the contract in the coming 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. 311 will be open today until 7 p.m. and tomorrow from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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.

Over 2,300 people have signed up for the Special Needs Registry, with 170 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.

Stay Informed

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, at www.nola.gov/ready/alert/ .