Ten years ago, the U.S. experienced its busiest hurricane season ever recorded. The year saw 28 named storms — 15 of them hurricanes — including Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the Gulf Coast. Four major hurricanes hit the U.S. in 2005, beginning in July with Hurricane Dennis.

Bart Everson / Wikimedia Commons

There have been flash flood warnings for Southeast Louisiana this week. And while areas around town flood, the city of New Orleans is poised to pass a new zoning ordinance that will help with some of that water. But not all of it. 

Between 2-4 inches of rain are expected to fall over the next few days, and that makes it hard to do some basic things. Like get in your car.   

Audubon Zoo

Up in Pennsylvania, Punxsutawney Phil may have seen his shadow, sending shivers down many a meteorologist’s spine and presaging six more weeks of winter — but here in New Orleans we have more, er, refined methods of predicting the weather.

It’s a bitter cold morning in the New Orleans region.

The National Weather Service says a wind chill has pushed temperatures down to around zero early this morning.

It’s so cold that utilities won’t cut off service to households that are behind on payments.

A 2007 Public Service Commission rule instructs utilities to avoid cutting off customers when temperatures reach 32 degrees or colder and remain there.


Strawberry farmers are bracing for Wednesday night's cold snap.

WBRZ-TV reports that crews worked to cover their strawberries and protect them from the cold weather moving in.

Farmers say if temperatures get too cold and stay there for too long, they could be facing a total loss of their crops.

Lows are forecast to be around 20 degrees in southern Louisiana and stay in the 20s for the next two or three days, with the potential for freezing rain later in the week.

National Weather Service

This post has been revised to include updated graphics, warnings and safety tips.  

The National Weather Service's New Orleans office has upgraded its freeze watches to warnings, which indicate an imminent onset of precarious conditions, and is warning residents of Southeast Louisiana to prepare for the "invasion" of an arctic airmass this evening.

The temperature will plummet from highs in the 60s on Tuesday to lows in the teens on the Northshore Wednesday night.

These bitter low temperatures are sticking around.

The National Weather Service says the frosty weather will continue through Wednesday. It’s blaming the combination of low temperatures and high winds.

It has prompted New Orleans officials and homeless advocates to take precautions for people living on the streets.

The New Orleans Advocate reports all four homeless shelters in the city were opened free of charge and allowed to expand their capacity to take on additional clients.

Plaquemines Parish

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.

The LSU AgCenter is offering many tips for keeping plants and trees alive during this cold snap. The AgCenter’s Shreveport-based horticulture agent Melea Martin said fragile plants should’ve been covered or moved during the last two nights of the hard freeze, but with care.

“During the freeze you want to make sure that if you do cover your plants with plastic, that the plastic is not touching the plant at all. It can cause damage to the plant," Martin said.

Temperatures in Orleans Parish are expected to drop to at or near freezing on Thursday night, prompting the City of New Orleans to put its freeze plan for the homeless into effect.

The freeze plan is enacted whenever the temperature or the wind chill factor is expected to fall to 35 degrees or lower. Temperatures near freezing, combined with the strong winds affecting the region, can cause serious medical problems to people exposed to them for extended periods of time.