Freezing temps expected, precautions urged

Published 12:49 pm Tuesday, January 6, 2015

By Stephen Hemelt

LAPLACE — Weather officials are predicting a light to moderate freeze for the River Region Wednesday and into Thursday.

The coldest weather is forecasted to take place before daybreak Thursday, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Robert Ricks.

Temperature highs Wednesday are expected around 24 to 26 degrees with winds coming out of the north. Winds speeds are expected to reach 15 and 20 mph overnight, with the wind chill in the River Parishes dropping things to 15 degrees.

Ricks said the coldest areas in the River Region would be those away from Lake Pontchartrain.

Temperatures are expected to warm up slightly Thursday, but Ricks said the high would only touch 41.

In advance of freezing temperatures expected to impact St. John the Baptist Parish later this week, area residents are advised, by parish authorities, to take freeze precautions at home and work.

Temperatures are predicted to fall into the mid-20s to lower 30s across Southeast Louisiana Thursday morning and remain below freezing in many areas into Friday.

Winds of 10 to 15 mph can produce wind chill values near 10 degrees Thursday. 

Preparations include wrapping and protecting exposed pipes and bringing inside or shielding sensitive plants, crops, outdoor pets and farm animals.

Low temperatures can pose problems to unprotected pipes as well as sensitive vegetation. Motorists should exercise caution when traveling and stay off roads whenever possible.

Residents are reminded to always use heating equipment properly to avoid fires.

St. John Public Works and Utilities crews will be on hand in the event issues arise with roadways, water, wastewater and drainage systems.

Public Safety and Communication officials are also monitoring weather conditions for the latest updates from the National Weather Service.

“This week will bring the coldest weather we have seen all season, and it is imperative that our residents stay informed and take the recommended precautions,” St. John Public Safety Director Jobe Bouvcalt said.

Residents can sign up to receive emergency notifications to their home phone, cell phone, email or SMS text-messaging device.

Residents may sign up for the service by visiting and clicking “Stay Connected” or contacting the Parish President’s Office at 985 652-9569 for assistance.  

Safety Tips include:

• Pets and plants should be brought inside,

• Other animals or livestock should be sheltered in areas with non-frozen drinking water,

• Protect plants by covering,

• Insulate outdoor faucets with faucet covers, rags, paper or trash bags or plastic foam,

• Plug electric space heaters directly into wall sockets — do not use extension cords,

• Space heaters should be 36 inches from anything flammable and turned off when not in the room,

• Maintain proper ventilation for all fuel-burning devices

• Keep safety items readily available: flashlight and batteries, battery-powered radio, extra food and water, baby items, first-aid supplies, fire extinguisher, pet food,

• Maintain contact with the elderly and those considered at risk,

• Dress warmly and keep exposed skin covered if outdoors.