St. Charles Parish prepares for extreme cold temperatures

Published 3:21 pm Sunday, February 14, 2021

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Hahnville, LA – President Matthew Jewell and the St. Charles Parish Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness are in constant communication with the National Weather Service (NWS) and the Louisiana Department of Transportation (DOTD) regarding the predicted freezing temperatures expected Monday evening through Tuesday morning. Residents should take necessary precautions to protect people, pipes, pets and plants as the NWS is predicting a hard freeze with temperatures in the 20s overnight Monday with the potential for freezing rain and ice.

DOTD has designated Airline Highway and the Hale Boggs Bridge as priority routes and is prepared to take all necessary steps to keep these routes open. Barricades will be stagged beginning tomorrow in the event a closure is required. It is recommended that residents limit unnecessary travel Monday evening through Tuesday morning. Those needing to travel should take extra precautions on elevated roads that have the potential to freeze.

Water System Freeze Precautions

  • All exposed pipes should be insulated and shielded from the wind. Exposed piping underneath a house or within walls should be protected by draining. Houses on slabs do not need protection if the piping is in the slab. The supply line must be protected by wrapping with insulation, newspaper or old clothing. Plyboard, felt roofing, plastic or cardboard can be used for shielding.
  • To drain piping, close the valve on the water supply line and open all faucets. Draining will only work if pipes slope evenly.
  • When the water supply is to be shut off, the hot water heater must be turned off. The valve on gas heaters should be set to the “pilot” position. Electric heaters should be turned off at the switch box.
  • In order to keep the meter from freezing, the meter box cover must be kept in place with the lid closed.
  • The St. Charles Parish Waterworks Department recommends that water pipes be insulated and shielded from the wind as the primary means of protection and normally advise flushing as a last resort. However, the parish is advising against running water to avoid the loss of pressure and quality in the water system.

Pet Safety

  • Keep your pets inside with you and your family. Under no circumstances should pet cats be left outdoors, even if they roam outside during other seasons. Dogs are happiest when taken out frequently for walks and exercise, but kept inside the rest of the time. Don’t leave pets outdoors when the temperature drops.
  • If your dog is outdoors much of the day for any reason, they must be protected by a dry, draft-free shelter that is large enough to allow them to move comfortably, but small enough to hold in body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches from the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.
  • Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy. Routinely check your pet’s water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls; when the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal.

Heater Safety

  • Place space heaters 3-5 feet from combustible objects like blankets.
  • Plug all heating appliances directly into wall outlets, not power strips or extension cords.
  • Do not use stoves or ovens to heat homes.
  • Don’t overfill fireplaces/wood burning stoves.
  • Do not leave candles/open flames (or space heaters) left unattended.
  • Have working smoke alarms in your home.

To report issues or for additional information regarding this weather event, please contact the EOC at 985-783-5050.

For more information regarding St. Charles Parish, please visit our website at, Cox Channel 6, UVerse Channel 99, or follow us on Facebook (@stcharlesgov) and Instagram (@stcharlesgovernment).