Tropical Storm Sally is expected to make landfall Tuesday along the north-central Gulf Coast as a Category 1 Hurricane, according to the National Weather Service. Hurricane and storm surge watches have been issued for Orleans Parish and other portions of the northern Gulf Coast.
New Orleans issued a mandatory evacuation order for residents living outside of the city’s levee protection system, where storm surge could reach between six and nine feet. This includes Venetian Isles, Lake Catherine and Irish Bayou. The order will go into effect Sunday at 6 pm.
“We cannot afford to take this lightly,” Mayor LaToya Cantrell said at a press briefing Saturday afternoon. “We are watching the weather patterns every single day, every single hour and minute as we prepare ourselves.”
The city will lift parking restrictions starting Sunday at 6 pm so that residents can move their vehicles to higher ground. Free sandbags will be available for pickup starting Sunday at 8 am.
Cantrell encouraged residents to gather emergency supplies and prepare their property for heavy rain. Current forecasts predict six to ten inches of rain, with higher amounts possible.
Ghassan Korban, executive director for New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board, said 97 of the city’s 99 drainage pumps are operational. One of the two pumps is out of service due to electrical repairs, but Korban said he’s not concerned since the area it serves in New Orleans East is “green” and can hold water if needed.
The other pump, which is located in Algiers is more critical, Korban said. Repairs are being made now and he expects the pump to be back in service by Monday morning. All of the city’s generators are currently operational.
There are currently upwards of 12,000 Hurricane Laura evacuees sheltering in New Orleans, Cantrell said. Many are staying in hotels managed directly by the Red Cross. Cantrell said the city will work directly with the Red Cross to ensure that evacuees are aware of storm updates.