Watch: New Orleans prepares for heavy rain, lifts neutral ground parking restrictions

Weather

NEW ORLEANS — Ramsey Green, Deputy CAO of Infrastructure, and Ghassan Korban, Executive Director, Sewerage & Water Board, held a press conference on Monday afternoon to discuss the incoming severe weather.

Showers and thunderstorms will be likely starting Tuesday afternoon and continuing on and off throughout Thursday. Some of these storms could produce large amounts of rainfall, with current forecasts of 4 to 6 inches (locally higher amounts possible) between Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

A Flash Flood Watch will be in effect from 8 a.m. Tuesday morning through midnight Thursday night. Additional watches or warnings may be issued.

As stated last week, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans’ power situation is in a fragile state. While there is enough power to operate the drainage system, there is not adequate backup power in the event of the loss of a power source. Turbines 1 and 6 and all electromotive diesel generators (EMDs) are available.

SWBNO will rely heavily on those EMDs as they are now a frontline source of power to operate the drainage system. In anticipation of strong winds, which could impact Entergy feeders, SWBNO will switch over to Turbine 6. SWBNO will remain in close coordination with Entergy throughout this event. 96 of 99 drainage pumps are available for service.

Department of Public Works crews are working extended hours today and tomorrow removing leaves and debris from in front of catch basins on major routes with tree canopies. Asphalt crews are transitioning from asphalt related work to clearing debris from in front of catch basins. 6 vacuum trucks and 5 dump trucks are operational. Additionally, in anticipation of heavy rain, inspectors and construction managers are reviewing roadwork construction sites to ensure stockpiles are moved from next to catch basins and all lose materials are tied down or removed from the job site. 

The Department of Public Works will suspend parking restrictions on neutral grounds beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday and until further notice to allow residents in areas prone to flooding to move vehicles to higher ground. Please do not block intersections, streetcar tracks, sidewalks, or bike paths and take extra care when driving on and off neutral grounds to protect the city’s tree canopy and parkways.

Residents are also encouraged to prepare homes and neighborhoods for rain by removing debris from gutters, downspouts, and in front of catch basins to help rain get to the drain. Call 3-1-1 to report catch basins that are not fully functioning.

During heavy rain, drivers are reminded to never drive through water on the road. Be especially cautious in areas prone to significant street flooding, like streets under bridges and overpasses. The New Orleans Police Department will ticket motorists who drive faster than 5 miles per hour on streets with standing water. Due to the potentially severe danger that could result from high water, residents should call 9-1-1 to report street flooding and life-threatening emergencies. Reports of street flooding are shown in real time at streetwise.nola.gov.

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