Governor Bobby Jindal has declared a state of emergency as a winter ice storm bears down on the southern states. New Orleans is on high alert to cope with unusually cold and rough weather.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu declared a citywide state of emergency, closing City Hall for today and tomorrow.
“It is probably the worst that we will see in the last 10 and, in some predictions, 25 years," he said. "There will be ice. It will be very, very dangerous.”
Landrieu joined with his top administrators as well as state officials to announce steps the public should take to stay safe.
Ice — as much as a half-inch — is predicted to coat city streets. And there are no sand or salt trucks to treat those roadways.
Entergy is getting ready for ice to break power lines, triggering outages that could last three to five days.
The airport is expecting mass flight cancellations.
Streetcars will be pulled off service, with buses covering those routes.
The National Weather Service says rain is expected to stop tonight, but it will still be cold – in the lower 20s in New Orleans with wind gusts of 20 to 30 miles-an-hour.
The mayor says it’s not the season, but it’s time to get into hurricane mode.
“Citizens, you must be prepared," Landrieu said. "We’ve been through many of these things before and the way this works is, that if everybody cooperates and everybody just follows along and is considerate and is smart, the chances of anybody getting hurt or people being harmed is reduced significantly.”
He’s asking people to report downed tree limbs and other storm-related problems to the city’s 3-1-1 service.