Since signing up for the New Orleans City Emergency Alert message system (NOLA READY) a few months ago- I received my second message ever today:
Important Alert from NOLA Ready (received today at 3:04 pm)
DUE TO FLOODING CONDITIONS CITY HALL OFFICES CLOSING AT 3 P.M. TODAY
Mayor Approves Parking on Neutral Ground
NEW ORLEANS, LA (October 22, 2007) - Due to severe flooding conditions
that are expected to persist throughout the remainder of the day and later in the evening, New Orleans City Hall and all city government offices will close at 3 p.m., today. Essential offices will remain open.
New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin has granted permission for the citizens to park on the neutral ground this evening. Citizens will not be ticketed for parking on the neutral ground and the city will not be liable for any damages to private property due to expected flooding or storm related hazards. Normal parking enforcement will resume at 9 a.m., Tuesday, October 23.
The National Weather Service reports that the city can expect a lull in the weather until approximately 5 to 6 p.m. This will provide the time for the Sewage and Water Board pumps to clear the streets. The pumps dispense one inch of water in the first hour and an half an inch every hour after. The city can expect another round of bad weather from approximately 5 to 10 p.m. During that time we can expect one to two inches of rain per hour. So far, the city have experienced anywhere between 3-6 inches of rain with the chance of 10 inches of total rain before tomorrow morning. The EOC is at a level one activation (OEP Staff Only).
As of 1 p.m. this afternoon, the Sewage and Water Board reported that all pumping systems are fully operational and working properly.
The Mayor's Office of Emergency Preparedness recommends the following:
* You should monitor forecasts and be alert for other warnings.
* Those living in areas prone to flooding should be prepared to take action should flooding develop.
* Ensure ditches and catch basins are cleared of debris.
* If you have to drive in a flooded area take care.
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DRIVE THROUGH WATER IF YOU ARE UNSURE OF THE DEPTH.
* Don't drive through fast-moving water, such as at a flooded bridge approach - your car could be swept away
* Drive slowly and steadily to avoid creating a bow wave, and allow on-coming traffic to pass first.
* Keep the engine revving by slipping the clutch otherwise water in the exhaust could stall the engine.
* Modern vehicles are fitted with catalytic converters in the exhaust system. The catalyst normally works at high temperatures and may crack if it is submerged in water. Replacement catalysts are expensive.
* The air intake on many modern cars is located low down at the front of the engine bay and it only takes a small quantity of water sucked into the engine to cause serious damage. All engines are affected but turbo-charged and diesel engines are most vulnerable.
* Be considerate - driving through water at speeds above a slow crawl can result in water being thrown onto pavements, soaking pedestrians or cyclists.
* If your car stalls, immediately abandon it and climb to higher ground. Watch your footing. Just six inches of fast-moving flood water can sweep a person off his or her feet.
* Test your brakes as soon as you can after driving through water.
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