New Orleans City employees will be dismissed early, at 3 p.m. local time, ahead of anticipated impacts from Hurricane Delta, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said during a news conference Friday.
Hurricane Delta is currently a Category 3 and is expected to make landfall Friday night.
The effects of the storm are expected to be felt in New Orleans from 4 p.m. to midnight, the mayor said.
“We’ll do an early dismissal about 3 p.m. this afternoon to again get our people, as best as possible, out of any harm’s way as 4 p.m. approaches,” Cantrell said.
Cantrell said the city has received “increasingly encouraging news” about Delta but remains prepared for any adverse weather or worst-case scenarios.
“We remain very much concerned and on guard should we need to help our neighbors along southwest Louisiana,” Cantrell said.
There are still concerns for flash flooding, river flooding and potential tornadoes as the storm makes landfall, Cantrell said.
Cantrell said the city has more than 6,100 evacuees in the city from previous storms.
RTA buses and ferries are still operating at this time but suspension is possible if winds get higher than 35 mph, the mayor explained.
Gusty winds are already being reported in New Orleans, according to Collin Arnold, director of New Orleans Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
“We ask our residents to be vigilant, stay weather aware throughout today,” Arnold said. “We’re not out of the woods, the woods might just not be as thick as we think right now.”