NEW ORLEANS — This week, Mayor LaToya Cantrell joined public health and safety officials to provide an overview of City and partner preparations for the upcoming hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its initial 2022 outlook and is predicting another above-normal season, which would make it the seventh consecutive above-average hurricane season. NOAA estimates 14 to 21 named storms and six to 10 hurricanes, with anywhere between three and six of those classified as “major” with a 65 percent confidence rate.
Here is an overview of preparation efforts across several City and partner agencies:
NEW ORLEANS HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS (NOHSEP)
NOHSEP remains committed to coordinating the City’s response should a storm come our way. Preparations include:
- Formalizing the cooling center operations from Hurricane Ida into the Emergency Resource Center (ERC) plan, which are designed to provide residents access to information and disaster resources
- Expanding local, post-storm sheltering capability in partnership with the New Orleans Recreation Development (NORD) Commission – organized Red Cross training for staff and planning functional exercise this summer
- Improving weather monitoring capability citywide with new network of real-time localized weather reporting through WeatherSTEM, which is now available to the general public at weatherwise.nola.gov
- Coordinating with NORD, New Orleans Public Library, the Morial Convention Center and Entergy New Orleans on the New Orleans Generator Readiness Project, which will install infrastructure at critical community sites throughout the city to support the rapid deployment of back up natural gas generators at those locations for post-storm response operations
- Enhancing existing emergency plans to reflect the reality of short notice, rapidly intensifying plans to protect most vulnerable populations
NEW ORLEANS HEALTH DEPARTMENT (NOHD)
NOHD has been working closely with NOHSEP to implement the Living Facilities Ordinance for seniors and people with disabilities. As of May 31, 2022, 39 of 70 known facilities have submitted their documents to receive an annual operating license.
NOHD has transitioned its Special Needs Registry to Smart911 App, a more inclusive tool with a full range of access and functional needs. Integrated with NOLA Ready alerts and the Orleans Parish Communication District’s (OPCD) dispatch system, Smart911 will help the City to communicate more efficiently with the most at-risk individuals following a disaster or emergency.
ORLEANS PARISH COMMUNICATIONS DISTRICT (OPCD)
OPCD is working closely with NOHD and Resilience Force to transition the Special Needs Registry over to the Smart911 App and calling all previous enrollees and updating their information.
OPCD now owns a FirstNet Deployable, which allows the City to provide cell service to first responders on the network in the case of another extended power outage. Additionally, OPCD announced a historic infrastructure upgrade for the 9-1-1 call routing system (AT&T ESINet) and the launch of the Carybe APEX IP-Based Phone System, which will allow for more redundancy and flexibility in the call handling system.
NEW ORLEANS FIRE DEPARTMENT (NOFD)
NOFD, in partnership with the Louisiana State Fire Marshal, has provided the following generator safety tips:
- Place generator at least 20 feet away from your home, away from open doors, windows and vent
- Before refueling, turn the generator off and allow it to cool for 15-20 minutes
- Do not use a generator in wet conditions
- Have a fire extinguisher and carbon monoxide monitor for your home
- Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet
DEPARTMENT OF SANITATION
The awarding of new contracts for Service Area 2 East and West is underway. Emergency contracts with IV Waste, Ramelli Waste and the Waste Management transfer station remain active. The Department of Sanitation will also execute additional standby emergency solid waste collection contracts to boost capacity for the 2022 hurricane season.
U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS (USACE)
Currently, the Greater New Orleans area has the most advanced storm damage risk-reduction system in the nation, which was completed before the start of this year’s hurricane season.
The Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS) is a $14.5 billion investment that will defend against a 100-year storm surge event, which has a one percent chance of occurring in any given year.
SEWERAGE AND WATER BOARD OF NEW ORLEANS (SWBNO)
SWBNO is continuing to test its equipment and train all staff for the 2022 hurricane season. While hurricanes should be monitored, residents should remember that summer rainstorms can pose significant flood threats as well.
As of May 26, 2022, 95 of 99 major drainage pumps are operational. All underpass pumping stations are in service. Four out of five electro-motive diesel (EMD) generators, as well as all four frequency changers are available for use. Turbines 4, 5 and 6 are operational and available for use as well.
Residents are encouraged to text NOLAREADY to 77925 to receive emergency text alerts from the City and to follow NOLA Ready on social media at @nolaready.