Frozen pipes, busted water mains, boil-water order possible amid winter storm, officials say | Local Politics

New Orleans officials warned residents of possible signs of boiling water and other hazards Monday as temperatures continued to drop in the city ahead of a cold, parade-free Mardi Gras.

Some of the biggest threats to the city from the freezing temperatures – which are slated to begin Monday afternoon and last through Fat Tuesday – are broken water pipes and frozen pipes.

While the city has largely avoided the snow and ice that have fallen in other parts of the state, temperatures are expected to drop below freezing in the coming hours, which could still result in icy roads.

The rain is expected to stop around noon.

In a press conference on Monday, Mayor LaToya Cantrell warned that traveling from Monday afternoon onwards could be dangerous. She urged residents to go into the house by 3 p.m. and be ready to stay there until Tuesday noon.

“We face three challenges: first, COVID-19, second, dealing with the crowds during the Carnival holidays, and third, this weather that threatens our streets, our performance and our pipes,” Cantrell said. “There is a message you should take from this: we need you to stay home and stay safe.”

Shortly before 6 p.m., the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority suspended ferry services along the Algiers Point-Canal Street and Lower Algiers-Chalmette ferry routes due to ice on the landing ships. The service will only resume after conditions have improved and no time has been given.

The RTA announced that bus and tram traffic will continue on a Saturday as long as weather conditions permit.

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Mayor Latoya Cantrell during a press conference at New Orleans City Hall on Friday, February 5, 2021.

The cold, wet weather on Lundi Gras added another damper to the carnival celebrations.

With parades canceled and bars closed before Fat Tuesday to contain the spread of COVID-19, many city dwellers still awaited smaller celebrations in the neighborhood. But the explosion of winter weather could make these already small celebrations even smaller.

At dawn on Tuesday, forecasters are calling for temperatures in the low 20s on the south coast and teenagers on the north coast. It is expected that winds at speeds of up to 15 km / h in teenagers south of Lake Pontchartrain and in the single digits on the north bank will generate “felt” wind chill values.


Mardi Gras confetti in a puddle of water on a rainy day in New Orleans the day before Mardi Gras on Monday, February 15, 2021. (Photo by Chris Granger | The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

For southeast Louisiana, a wind chill recommendation applies until Tuesday noon, with temperatures in New Orleans not rising above freezing until around noon and reaching around 39 at around 4 p.m. On the north coast, temperatures should only rise to just above freezing before falling again overnight.

Jefferson Parish officials on Monday urged residents to bring pets into the home, drain faucets, and wrap exposed pipes and vegetation. The community closed public parks and said garbage collection would be delayed.

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Jefferson Congregation President Cynthia Lee Sheng issued an emergency statement for the ward on Monday as temperatures continued to drop.

The Arctic explosion is part of a system that brings snow, sleet, and freezing temperatures over the continental United States. In Texas, the storm turned off electricity to more than 2 million people.

Thousands were without power in Louisiana on Monday, mostly in the Baton Rouge area, where a mixture of rain and sleet covered the streets and fell branches.

Interstate 10 between Baton Rouge and Lafayette was completely closed on Monday after a series of accidents overnight, including a collision of 14 vehicles that resulted in no injuries.

In the New Orleans area, temperatures were projected to rise to the low 60s by Ash Wednesday, but that left plenty of time for cold weather to cause disruption.


Tropical plants in a French Quarter courtyard near a statue of New Orleans actor Chris Owens, left in Music Legends Park on Bourbon Street, are covered to protect them from the heavy winter storm that hit Mardi Gras the day before Moves to New Orleans Monday. February 15, 2021. (Photo by Chris Granger | The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

Ghassan Korban, executive director of the Sewerage and Water Board, urged residents to run a spaghetti-thin drop of water into a single faucet to avoid frozen pipes. He also recommended that residents wrap their exposed pipes in foam, newspaper, or some other covering to protect them as much as possible.

Even if these precautions are taken, given the temperatures, “it is very likely that we will see breaks across the city,” Korban said.

The city must issue a notice on boiling water if the water pressure drops below 20 pounds per square inch. Korban said the recommendation will likely apply across the city if one is issued.

The utility also faces the challenge of a loss of redundancy as two of its main turbines need to be repaired. It’s based on two backup generators that provide an additional 4 megawatts of power, but redundancy remains an issue, he said.


An empty restaurant terrace around noon on a cold, wintry day in the French Quarter of New Orleans the day before Mardi Gras on Monday, February 15, 2021. (Photo by Chris Granger | The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

New Orleans has activated its homeless freeze plan. Homeless shelters are welcome throughout the community. Officials urged residents not to provide tents to homeless residents as they trap moisture and do little to alleviate dangerously cold temperatures.

Cantrell also warned residents that there was a “real risk” of blackouts due to the weather.

“We want people to stay warm and be careful about how you get your heat source,” she said.

The authors Mark Schleifstein and Lea Skene and the Associate Press contributed to this report.

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