Parking allowed on neutral ground ahead of severe weather threat

NEW ORLEANS — Parking will be allowed on the neutral ground and on sidewalks in New Orleans from 8 p.m. Friday until 8 p.m. Saturday in response to the threat of severe weather and heavy rain.

City officials briefed the media on the severe weather threat Friday afternoon. Watch the full update below.

New Orleans Fire Chief Timothy McConnell said two-four inches of rain are expected from mid-morning Saturday to Saturday evening, but if any of those rain bands stall, it could be up to six inches.

There’s an “enhanced risk” for damaging winds, high wind gusts, possible tornadoes, hail and flash flooding.

“Residents are urged to make preparations now,” McConnell said. “Prepare your homes. Clean out gutters, clean catch basins, secure garbage bins and outdoor furniture.”

Police Chief Michael Harrison urged residents to stay home if at all possible.

“It’s a danger for you and it’s a danger for first responders,” he said.

Harrison cautioned against driving around barricades around underpasses, as the water “is usually deeper than you think.”

The Sewerage and Water Board says 119 out of 120 pumps are working, and there is a “more than adequate” power supply at the Carrollton plant.

As for the timing of the system, it looks like the leading edge of the severe weather could move into Tangipahoa Parish as early mid-morning and continue to develop and strengthen as it moves east. As of Friday night, timing showed the line in the city of New Orleans between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday, and finally exiting the viewing area in the early evening.