(WAFB) - From the Governor's Office:
Governor Bobby Jindal held a Unified Command Group meeting today at the Governor's Office of Homeland Security to get an update on the state's preparations for the oncoming winter storm. Governor Jindal declared a State of Emergency due to the winter weather and he urged Louisianians to get a game plan for their families.
Governor Jindal said, "The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning starting at 6 AM tomorrow morning for Southwest Louisiana, South Central Louisiana, and Central Louisiana through 6 AM Wednesday morning. We will start to see freezing temperatures tomorrow morning and then snowfall until Tuesday night. Now is the time to get a game plan for you and your family. As always, we hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
"While the snowfall will only last until Tuesday night, the impacts of this storm will happen until at least Thursday morning because of freezing temperatures in the forecast. We have a plan that will help commuters and businesses that will be on the road, but given the freezing temperatures and the impact on the roads, we do expect a number of road closures across South Louisiana.
"We expect road closures starting tomorrow, and that's why it's important people start preparing now for the storm. We are working to keep open major corridors across the state, but only for those who absolutely must travel. Unless it's an emergency, we are asking everyone to stay off the roads as we work to preserve safe passages for emergency personnel and others who are working to keep people safe."
In preparation for the storm DOTD has:
• 3.8 million pounds of salt
• 28,000 gallons of liquid de-icer on hand, and 38,000 gallons of liquid de-icer are en route.
• 30 liquid de-icing distributors which applies the liquid de-icing material
• 76 motor-graters for plowing and de-icing
• 160 salt pick-up spreader trucks
• 300 large dump trucks, including 80 that are dump truck spreaders
• 5,200 cubic yards of sand
NOTE: This is expected to be a dynamic weather event and as weather conditions deteriorate or change that the following information could be adjusted.
Based on current weather forecast, DOTD will use resources in order to keep the following roads open:
o I-10 from the Mississippi Line State line to I-12
o I-12 from Slidell to Airline Hwy
o US 61 to US 190 Mississippi Bridge
o US 190 from the Huey P. Long Bridge in Baton Rouge to Opelousas
o I-49 from Lafayette to Shreveport
o I-10 from Lafayette to Texas
o Baton Rouge to New Orleans US 61
o I-55 from I-12 to Mississippi
o I-59 from I-12 to Mississippi
• If roadway starts freezing, the National Guard will be staged with graders in Lafayette and Hammond to plow the roadways.
• DOTD is focused on keeping the following bridges open
o Sunshine Bridge
o Old Bridge in BR
o Luling Bridge
o Huey P. Long Bridge in New Orleans
o The CCC Bridge in New Orleans
• Starting tomorrow, on I-10 from Lafayette to Slidell, DOTD expects to start closing portions of this roadway. This includes Horace Wilkinson Bridge and Twin Spans.
• DOTD expects to close the Audubon Bridge
• DOTD expects to start closing portions of US 90 from Lafayette to New Orleans starting tomorrow.
• DOTD is going to keep the Plaquemines Ferry open
• DOTD has contacted the Louisiana trucking industry to remind them of possible weather and using alternate routes, such as I-20.
• People can use 511la.org to get traffic information. Sign up for DOTD's Way to Geaux app on the dotd.la.gov web page.
• The Louisiana National Guard is activating 450 personnel on state active duty to help DOTD with de-icing and road grading operations.
• The National Guard is also mobilizing 30 dump trucks, 14 road graders, 2 front-end loaders, 20 pick-up trucks, 2 fuel trucks, and 2 wreckers for 24-hour operations.
• National Guard liaison officers are being deployed to Parish EOCs in affected areas.
• The National Guard also stands ready to assist local and state emergency responders.
• DHH has activated the ESF8 Network – composed of Public Health, Hospitals, EMS, and Nursing Homes.
• DHH has reminded all medical facilities to run through their readiness checklists and prepare to Shelter in Place, including taking such steps as topping off their generators and checking on back-up water supplies.
• DHH has contacted the Louisiana Hospital Association to alert to hospital CEOs to conduct readiness for their facilities.
• Additionally, other ESF-8 partners, including the Louisiana Nursing Home Association, are also reaching out to facilities to ensure providers are conducting readiness checks.
• The Louisiana Emergency Response Network (LERN) has been notified and is on standby to assist EMS services at local level with routing of patients if this is needed.
• It's important to note that as frozen pipes thaw, there may be broken water lines, water pressure drops and a subsequent increase in boil water notices.
• DHH will provide updates on boil water notices as it becomes necessary.
• CPRA is working with all levee and water boards to monitor pumping station operations under freezing conditions.
• CPRA is helping to coordinate public safety assistance from levee district police and other assets.
• The CPRA will work to make sand pits available under our emergency contingency contracts to address any road needs of state and local officials.
• CPRA has filled sandbags stockpiled in levee districts around the state that could be deployed to address safety concerns on area roadways.
• LDWF has 190 agents with emergency vehicles, or Blue Light Vehicles, with four-wheel drive and winches.
• LDWF has another 100 vehicles with four-wheel drive and winches, but no emergency lights.
• 45 school districts are closed for tomorrow.
• 34 districts are closed for Wednesday and 1 district is closed for Thursday.