Officials urge S. Louisiana residents to hunker down for 48 hours
Dave Cohen Reporting
"There is going to be ice, that's fairly thick... on all of our streets," New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu insisted it will not be safe to leave your home most of Tuesday and Wednesday with nasty winter weather spreading across the area. "We want to advise people to stay off of the roads."
Landrieu says the ice will make driving nearly impossible as the worst winter weather in a generation hits the region.
"We don't have a lot of experience in New Orleans driving on ice, and I'm guessing that we don't do it very well," Landrieu stressed it's about keeping people safe. "Preserving life if very important."
He urged people to stock up on supplies as if they were preparing for a hurricane and get ready to hunker down for two days.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development pledged to fight the ice.
"We are going to maintain the major routes as long was we can. This is going to be a 48 hour event," Area Engineer Fred Wetekamm said. "We know that we are going to have ice on our elevated portions of the roadway, we know that for a fact. We have staged numerous deicing materials; salt, sand."
Landrieu pointed out however that there was no way DOTD can treat all of the roads in the region and keep them ice-free.
"It will probably be near impossible to clear all of the ice off all of the streets so that all of them a safe all of the time," Landrieu explained. "The streets are going to be dangerous."
Other concerns include power outages, falling trees and limbs and freezing pipes.
The City issued the following recommendations:
Do not drive or walk around outside until all the ice is gone
Cancel any appointments (hair, doctor, etc.) you may have
Wear layers, hat, and gloves
Carry a cell phone
Sprinkle cat litter or sand on icy patches
If your car gets stuck, stay in your car and call for help
Shelter In Place
Have enough drinking water for your household for at least 48 hours (you should have 1 gallon per person per day)
Have enough food for your family for 48 hours. Make sure to have food you don't have to cook in the event of a power outage
Make sure you have plenty of warm blankets
Prepare an Emergency Kit
List of emergency phone numbers and family contact numbers
First aid kit
Prescription and over the counter medications
Baby supplies such as diapers and formula
Entertainment, like books, magazines, games, etc.
Keep your house warmer by closing doors to rooms you are not using
Generator & Space Heater Safety
Make sure your generator is working and that there is enough gasoline to keep it running in the event of a power outage
Keep running generators outdoors at least 20 feet away from any buildings
Keep heaters at least 3 feet from anything that could catch on fire
Never place a heater on top of anything (furniture, boxes, etc.)
Do not let children be by the space heater or in the same room as the space heater without an adult in the room
Make sure the cord is in a safe place and won't make people trip
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
If you or someone in your house loses consciousness, has a headache that won't go away, has dizziness, weakness, chest pain, or confusion, s/he may have carbon monoxide poisoning. CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY
Keep a slow stream of water running from all your faucets to avoid your pipes from freezing
Cover exposed pipes
Open cabinets to help warm the pipes
Use a blow dryer to unfreeze pipes
Make sure neighbors and family know to prepare for winter weather. In case of life-threatening emergencies, always call 911.