Hurricane Michael has begun lashing the Gulf Coast, battering the Florida Panhandle with torrential rains and 145-mile-per-hour winds.
According to Florida Gov. Rick Scott, the Category 4 storm is the worst the area has seen in a century, and the National Weather Service (NWS) reports it may be the strongest recorded storm to make landfall on the Panhandle.
Coastal cities expected to experience Michael’s worst effects include Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Panama City Beach and Apalachicola, but areas inland are preparing to get hit as well, especially if a storm surge occurs, which could result in severe flooding. The NWS has indicated that buildings could face heavy damages and homes may be uninhabitable for a time.
Visit the National Restaurant Association’s Hurricane Resources site
A spokeswoman for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association said the organization, which has created an online hurricane resources page for its members, said the group is also working with several restaurants in Tallahassee to prepare and deliver more than 3,200 meals to the hurricane’s first responders. She also said members who need assistance could email the association at email@example.com.
The hurricane may also reach into southern Georgia and southeast Alabama, pelting them with flooding rain and heavy winds. Millions of residents and business owners in the Florida Panhandle and southern Georgia are also expected to lose power following the storm.
In Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for 92 counties. A spokeswoman for the Georgia Restaurant Association said members would find information on proper emergency procedures on the GRA page on Emergency Preparedness.
Read: Find resources to prepare for Hurricane Michael
Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu provided an update on Tropical Storm Nate and declared a state of emergency for New Orleans. The Mayor advised residents to shelter in place on Saturday and Sunday in preparation for Nate and has not issued a mandatory evacuation at this time. A mandatory curfew will be in effect for New Orleans beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7 until Sunday morning.
Nate has taken a significant westward shift, making probable landfall in Southeast Louisiana over the weekend. The chance for tropical storm-force winds has increased. Heavy wind is currently the primary concern for New Orleans through the weekend.
Residents are allowed to park on the neutral ground and sidewalks, as long as vehicles do not block intersections or streetcar tracks.
Residents are encouraged to text “NATE” to 888-777 to receive updates from the City of New Orleans on Tropical Storm Nate.
At this time, a Coastal Flood Advisory remains in effect for New Orleans until noon on Sunday, Oct. 8. Coastal flooding is expected as tides are up to two feet above normal tide levels. Potential storm surge flooding is probable through Saturday and Sunday. There is also potential for minor flooding of low-lying roadways outside of the flood protection system, near the Lakefront and in Venetian Isles.
At this time, there is no mandatory evacuation order for New Orleans. However, Mayor Landrieu strongly encourages residents who live outside the City’s levee protection system or in low-lying areas, like Venetian Isles, Irish Bayou and the Lakefront, to move to higher ground. Residents who live inside the levee system should prepare to take shelter with essential supplies including food, water, and medications.
As always during Hurricane Season, residents are reminded to make a plan and to have at least three days’ worth of supplies, including water, food, and medications on hand. To see tips on how to make a plan, click HERE.
City Working with Local, State and Federal Partners on Preparations
Throughout this event, the City is working with local, federal and state partners such as Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), Louisiana National Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers to understand the risks, vulnerabilities, and how the City can keep residents safe, which is its top priority.
Additionally, Mayor Landrieu led a tabletop briefing this morning with the National Weather Service and City officials on Tropical Storm Nate.
The City currently has nearly 40 boats and over 20 high-water vehicles along with other rescue supplies staged at various fire and police stations, as well as four high-water vehicles and two boats stationed at Emergency Medical Services (EMS) headquarters.
Additionally, the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) pre-staged 146 brand new barricades in flood-prone areas to prevent drivers from going into areas with high water. These barricades are designed for high visibility and auto traffic. Barricades and equipment are positioned and ready to be put in place at: Downman Road & Haynes Blvd., Gentilly Blvd. & Peoples Ave., Franklin Ave. & I-610 East and West, Gentilly Blvd. & Paris Ave. (Popeyes), Paris Ave. & Gentilly Blvd. (Parisite Skate Park), St. Bernard Ave & I-610 Exit, N. Broad St. & A.P. Turead Ave., Marconi Drive & Roosevelt Mall St., Canal Blvd. & Navarre Ave., Tulane Ave. & S. Carrollton Ave., Metairie Road & Pontchartrain Blvd., Gen. De Gaulle Drive & Hwy. 90, Gen. De Gaulle Drive & Woodland Drive, Press Drive & L. C. Simon Drive, and the I-10 Carrollton Off-Ramp.
The City urges all New Orleans residents and businesses to stay prepared and informed as hurricane season continues. The City is committed to ensuring the safety of all residents, and the public is encouraged to help spread the word and make the entire community better prepared.
Develop a plan in advance to ensure that every family member knows what to do, who to call and where to go during an emergency. For more preparedness tips, click HERE.
Out of an abundance of caution, the City’s emergency and operational departments are conducting preparation measures. Any changes in storm track and intensity could change the impacts for our area, so residents are advised to stay tuned to NOLA Ready and the National Weather Service for updates.
Sandbags will be available at the following New Orleans Fire Department stations 24 hours a day, starting Friday, Oct. 6 at 7 a.m.:
987 Robert E. Lee Blvd.
2000 Martin Luther King Blvd.
4115 Woodland Ave.
2118 Elysian Fields Ave.
5403 Read Road
Update on Drainage System
The Sewerage and Water Board (S&WB) is working closely with New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and the Mayor's office to monitor Tropical Storm Nate. S&WB and its contractors continue to work around the clock to repair all power and pumps to stabilize and strengthen the City's drainage system. Since August, S&WB has repaired six drainage pumps and two turbines. Today, 108 of 120 drainage pumps are fully operational. Turbines 1, 3 and 6 are available for service with additional power being provided by 26 backup generators which were mobilized under emergency declaration. In addition to generators, S&WB has brought in three additional rented pumps, one at DPS 5 and two at DPS 7. Additionally, S&WB is in the process of installing five Electro-Motive Diesel Generators at the Carrollton Water Plant and are scheduled to be available for service in the coming weeks.
Updates on pump availability can be found at www.swbno.org external link.
ENTERGY NEW ORLEANS
While the storm's exact path remains uncertain, Entergy New Orleans is preparing for the possibility of heavy rain and hurricane-force winds, which could lead to power outages in southern Louisiana. Entergy's line crews and contractors are on alert and ready to safely restore service to customers as quickly as possible.
Customers should visit the Entergy Storm Center external link website for planning tools that can help guide you through the decisions you need to make. Operation: Storm Ready external link is a free downloadable guide that helps customers plan and prepare for weather emergencies.
Extended Hours for Catch Basin Cleanings
The Department of Public Works (DPW) increased its manpower to clean and unclog catch basins and flush drain lines 7 a.m.-7 p.m., six days a week. Fourteen vacuum trucks are in service currently, including DPW and its contractors. Since the beginning of 2017, a total of 6,456 catch basins have been cleaned in New Orleans, including 3,516 since August.
In advance of heavy rainfall, remove leaves, grass and other visible debris in front of catch basin openings and nearby, and place lawn clippings in garbage cans and never blow or sweep them down a catch basin. To reduce risk of street flooding, do not park in front of or on a catch basin and do not dispose of anything in a catch basin. Call 311 to report catch basins that are not fully functioning. Avoid lifting a catch basin lid or inserting anything into a catch basin.
Three simple steps to improve drainage:
Hotels and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is monitoring Tropical Storm Nate. If you are traveling in the coming days, please check your airline’s website for any possible delays or cancellations prior to coming to the Airport.
New Orleans hotels remain open. City officials are in contact with hotels and conventions in town through the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (NOCVB) in order to ensure safety of New Orleans visitors as well as New Orleans residents.
New Orleans Regional Transit Authority
New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) is making pre-storm preparations under their hurricane preparedness plan. If winds exceed 25 mph, RTA bus and streetcar services will be discontinued to protect the safety of the riding community. Currently, all buses, streetcars, paratransit vehicles and ferries are operating their regular schedules. Public notice will be sent out detailing service interruptions as weather conditions change.
Visit www.norta.com for more information and follow @NewOrleansRTA on Twitter and Facebook for the most up-to-date information on any RTA storm-related detours, or call the Customer Care Rideline at (504) 248-3900.
Normal Hours for 311
Residents are encouraged to call 311 for general information and to report non-life threatening emergencies. 311 will be open today until 5 p.m., tomorrow from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and 24 hours starting 7 a.m. Saturday.
Additionally, residents are advised to look for updates regularly posted on ready.nola.gov external link, on Twitter @NOLAReady, and on Facebook @NOLAReady. Sign up for NOLA Ready alerts, which will notify residents of emergency situations, at www.nola.gov/ready/alert/.
Restaurants across the country support the Hurricanes Harvey & Irma Hospitality Employee Relief Fund with "One Meal, One Night, One Nation" Dine Out Day, Oct. 2
Celebrity chefs Tom Colicchio, Michael Symon, Dante Boccuzzi, Rick Moonen, and Tom Douglas join the Louisiana Restaurant Association, Commander's Family of Restaurants and the Greater New Orleans Foundation to raise funds for restaurant and hotel workers affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma
On Monday, October 2, 2017, hospitality industry leaders and diners alike will come together for “One Night, One Meal, One Nation” to support the Hurricanes Harvey & Irma Hospitality Employee Relief Fund. In gratitude to Alex Brennan-Martin and the Houston community for their support in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, co-proprietors Ti Adelaide Martin and Lally Brennan of Commander's Palace, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, and Louisiana Restaurant Association invite patrons across the country to dine out for a cause. As part of this special evening, participating restaurants will donate a portion of the proceeds towards individual grants for hospitality workers, as well as to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, and local school partners in the greater Houston and Florida Gulf communities.
“After Hurricane Katrina, the hospitality community was there for New Orleans, and we'll never forget it. Alex Brennan-Martin started the New Orleans Hospitality Workers Disaster Relief Fund, and with a National Dine Out Day as well as additional fundraising, raised and gave away over a million dollars in small grants to help individuals in New Orleans. Today, we are returning the favor,” shares Martin.
Donations will benefit industry workers and organizations in the affected areas, providing relief to hurricane victims and assisting the families in the hospitality industry who were affected by the disasters. A list of participating restaurants can be found on Reserve—the country’s premier hospitality technology platform, helping restaurants and guests connect—at: tablemanagement.reserve.com/onemealonenightonenation.
If diners are unable to participate on the night, tax deductible donations can be made via Golden Rule’s Indiegogo for One Meal, One Night, One Nation at: http://bit.ly/2x81kXM or by mailing a check to the Greater New Orleans Foundation at 919 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130—donations should specify "Hurricanes Harvey & Irma Hospitality Employee Relief Fund." Both are tax deductible.
“Our National Dine Out Day for Hurricane Katrina was such a success, and I can’t wait to see what this evening and the crowdfunding website will do for hospitality employees in Houston and Florida during this challenging time,” says Brennan-Martin.
Confirmed participants include notable chefs Michael Symon, Tom Colicchio, Dante Boccuzzi, Rick Moonen, and Tom Douglas.