New Orleans activates Freeze Plan, urges residents to prepare for more cold weather

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NEW ORLEANS — Another round of cold weather is forecast in New Orleans on Thursday evening and lasting through Saturday morning.

This cold weather has triggered the activation of the citywide freeze plan, to provide temporary shelter for homeless residents overnight tonight and Friday night. 

Temperatures will drop overnight both evenings and, factoring in wind chill, will remain below the threshold of 35 degrees Fahrenheit long enough to trigger the activation of the freeze plan.

The National Weather Service predicts the coldest period to be early Friday morning with “feels like” temperatures in the low to mid 20s for multiple hours.

Pipes Not a Current Concern

At this point, the forecast does not indicate a hard freeze, meaning the true temperature without factoring in wind chill is not expected to dip below freezing. For that reason, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (SWBNO) is recommending residents do NOT need to run a faucet as pipes will not be at risk of freezing. Should the forecast change, SWBNO will alert residents.

Continue to Conserve Energy

Critical shortages of electricity continue throughout the region as a result of the extreme cold temperatures and winter weather. The region’s reliability coordinator, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, has requested customers throughout Louisiana and surrounding regions continue to conserve energy. If the power supply cannot meet demand, then periodic power outages could be needed to prevent extensive power outages.

In order to prevent periodic outages, Entergy New Orleans is asking residents to voluntarily reduce the use of energy: 

  • Lower the central thermostat to 68 degrees and adjust window units accordingly.
  • Use energy-efficient ceiling fans and portable fans to circulate air to help with your comfort.
  • Delay laundry, washing dishes, bathing and other non-essential uses of electricity until this appeal for conservation has ended.
  • Wash clothes with cold water, cook foods at the lowest possible setting and refrain from opening the oven door while baking.
  • Don’t allow warmed air to escape from the home.

The request for electric use reduction does not apply to elderly customers or those with special health concerns.

Shelter for the Homeless

The freeze plan will be in effect to provide temporary shelter for homeless residents. If someone is in need of shelter, please call (504) 821-2222 to request transportation from the NOPD Homeless Assistance Unit. Individuals needing shelter will be accepted, free of charge, at the following locations under the following conditions:

  • The Salvation Army, 4530 S. Claiborne Ave., will accept adults beginning at 4 p.m.
  • Ozanam Inn, 843 Camp St., will accept men beginning at 6 p.m. for overnight shelter. The courtyard with heaters is open 24/7 to anyone.
  • Covenant House, 611 N. Rampart St., will accept individuals age 22 and under, their dependent children, and any women with dependent minor children. Open 24/7.
  • New Orleans Mission, 1130 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., will accept adults beginning at 4 p.m.

Cold Weather Preparedness

Residents are encouraged to take precautions to protect people and pets during cold weather, using these tips:  

STAY WARM

  • Stay inside in heat during extreme cold.
  • If you go outside, wear layers, a hat, and gloves and carry a cell phone.
  • Check on neighbors, children, and the elderly and chronically ill to make sure they are OK.
  • Bring pets inside.

PRACTICE FIRE SAFETY & PREPARE YOUR HOME

  • Never leave space heaters unattended.
  • Never use a stove or an oven to heat your home.
  • Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to be sure they are working.
  • Have a fire extinguisher and know how to use it.

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