NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — “This is a very serious weather event, it is just as serious as a hurricane,” those are the words from New Orleans City Councilmember Eugene Green when talking about the arctic blast that is heading toward Louisiana.

That has the city springing into action as temperatures are expected to drop Thursday night, slipping to below freezing.

“We are expecting unprecedented temperature drops as much as thirty degrees in a matter of hours,” explained Mayor Latoya Cantrell. She signed a state of emergency putting extra first responders on standby.

Michelle Woodfork, the interim superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department says her team will be monitoring road conditions, on the lookout for ice.

“We are asking everyone to stay off the elevated portions of I-10 in the event it becomes critical as well as the active ramps and underpasses,” she said. “Those will be monitored for ice and accumulation.”

Three warming centers will be open across the city – Joe Brown Park, Rosenwald Rec Center and the Cut-Off Rec Center. They’ll be open beginning Thursday evening at 6:00 p.m. and will stay open until Monday at 6:00 p.m.

The Sewerage and Water Board encourages you to wrap your pipes so they don’t burst and leave a faucet running to keep water flowing.

“Limit that running to one faucet and preferably the faucet furthest from that meter,” said Executive Director of the SWBNO Ghassan Korban.

Entergy has announced they will be suspending any disconnections and planned outages until after January 2. But, officials say if there is an outage, there could be a problem.

“If there are outages or there are lines that go out we will not be able to send our crews to go out safely to repair any of those lines until the wind subsides,” explained Deanna Rodriguez, the President and CEO of Entergy New Orleans.

Homeless shelters including the Ozanam Inn, Salvation Army, New Orleans Mission, Covenant House, New Orleans Women and Children Shelter and Concerned Citizens for a Better Algiers will be open for those in need.

The city is also urging residents to sign up for emergency text alerts by texting “NOLA READY” to 77-295.

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