South Louisiana has slowly ground to a halt as a winter storm dumps snow, sleet and freezing rain from Lafayette through coastal Mississippi.
The National Weather Service says moderate to heavy sleet continues across most of the region, and a Winter Storm Warning remains in effect for metro New Orleans. The NWS says the Winter Storm Warning is expected to last until Wednesday morning, and will likely be replaced by a Hard Freeze Warning once precipitation finally ceases.
Contrary to initial predictions, more sleet than freezing rain has been falling, lowering the chance of widespread power outages. A power outage Tuesday afternoon affecting portions of the 9th Ward and St. Bernard Parish was resolved quickly by Entergy crews — the company says winds were responsible.
“The City is taking all necessary precautions and actions to keep our citizens safe and I urge residents to make every effort to keep themselves and their fellow citizens safe,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a press conference early Tuesday afternoon.
State and local government officials are urging residents to remain indoors, and cold-weather shelters have been opened in New Orleans and Slidell. Schools and many businesses have remained closed throughout the day, and many will remain closed Wednesday as well.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has shuttered bridges and roads across the state, including the I-10 Twin Spans, and the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge has been closed as well.
Temperatures, which have dropped precipitously, are forecasted to continue dropping and remain below freezing until midday Wednesday, and are not expected to climb very far above the freezing mark due to high cloud cover and frozen material on the ground. The very cold temperatures will last through Wednesday night.
The region will most likely experience some fog Thursday night into Friday, and a few showers on Friday. Another arctic airmass will pass north of the metro region over the weekend.