Freeze Strains New Orleans Utilities
The New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board has issued a precautionary boil water advisory for the entire East Bank of New Orleans. This comes after a drop in water pressure this morning, probably caused by residents leaving water running overnight to avoid bursting pipes.
The SWB recommends people don't consume tap water, be careful bathing, and take care cleaning.
Meantime, Entergy is asking people to conserve power. Frigid temperatures have strained capacity. The company is asking customers to delay doing laundry, dishwashing and bathing in order to prevent a potential blackout.
Parts of interstates and several highly-traveled roads and bridges across the New Orleans region remain closed due to ice. Among the closures are Interstate 10 from Kenner to Lafayette, and Interstate 55 from LaPlace to the Mississippi state line. The Causeway bridge is now open.
Department of Transportation and Development spokeswoman, Bambi Hall, says workers are salting roads and scraping ice with the goal of reopening them Thursday afternoon.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu says closures are needed to keep people safe. “This is really not complicated. If you have water and you have cold, it’s going to turn into ice and if it doesn’t thaw that ice is going to remain there. The problem is that you can’t see it,” he said at a press conference Wednesday.
Governor John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency. Ice has caused several car accidents and fatalities.
Continued freezing temperatures are prompting all public and Catholic schools in New Orleans to remain closed today.