BATON ROUGE, La. - Gov. John Bel Edwards and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) are urging Louisianans to plan for an Arctic outbreak expected to move into the state beginning Thursday and continuing through the Christmas holiday weekend. Temperatures are expected to plummet as the cold front crosses the state with strong winds and dangerous wind chills. 

“I urge every Louisianan to prepare for the approaching Arctic outbreak and be ready to protect the four P’s – people, pets, plants, and pipes,” Gov. Edwards said. “Be sure to cover or insulate all exposed pipes and prepare for the possibility of cutting off your main water supply if you have a problem. And as always, please check on your friends, neighbors or family members that may struggle with these weather conditions. For information on warming stations or assistance in creating a severe weather plan, visit www.getagameplan.org.”

“Every person in Louisiana must take extra precautions in the coming days, especially those living in temporary housing or shelter units following last year’s hurricane and the recent tornado outbreak,” said GOHSEP Director Casey Tingle. “Follow all safety guidelines for those units such as check all propane lines and keep all doors and windows clear in case an emergency escape is needed. Many of our local partners are establishing warming stations across the state. Examine your personal plans and take any action necessary to safely get through this event.”

Here are the latest forecast highlights from the four National Weather Service (NWS) offices that cover Louisiana –

NWS Shreveport:

  • The coldest weather of the season will begin Thursday.
  • Temperatures will remain below freezing for a prolonged time.
  • Areas at or north of I-20 could stay below freezing for up to 60 hours starting Thursday night. 

NWS Jackson, MS (ArkLaMiss):

  • A period of dangerously cold weather is expected from Thursday night through Saturday night.
  • Low temperatures will range from the single digits in the north of the region through the teens to the south.
  • Highs will be near or below freezing for much of the region Friday and Saturday.

NWS Lake Charles:

  • There is increasing confidence of prolonged hard freeze conditions with lows in the single digits possible.
  • Hazardous temperatures will last through the Christmas holiday weekend.
  • Residents should consider any preparedness steps now. 

NWS New Orleans:

  • Strongly below normal temperatures are likely through the weekend.
  • The cold front is expected to deliver high winds to the area.
  • The plummeting temperatures and high winds could bring dangerously cold wind chills.

The Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s office reminds everyone to keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment like a fireplace or a space heater. Never use an oven to heat your home. Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms to avoid the risk of poisoning. 

Remember to take other steps to prepare for the freezing temperatures. For pets and animals, bring them inside wherever possible and make sure drinking water stays unfrozen. For your home, protect your pipes and safely operate heating devices.

If travel is in your plans, visit www.511.la.org for updates on road conditions. GOHSEP is closely monitoring this weather threat and stands ready to support our local partners and state agencies if help if needed.

Find more tips on weather and preparedness on GOHSEP’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Listen to conversations on all aspects of emergency management by downloading GOHSEP’s The Get A Game Plan Podcast. The Get A Game Plan App is another resource available to help you and your family prepare for any type of emergency. You can download the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Guide and find other information at www.getagameplan.org.