Hurricane Ida: first death in Louisiana as New Orleans loses power – as it happened

Last modified: 06: 51 PM GMT+0

Sheriffs say person killed by falling tree in Prairieville as city of New Orleans falls back on power generators after network fails

Summary

Hurricane Ida has moved away from southern Louisiana after blasting the state on Sunday, but it has left major destruction in its wake. Here’s a quick summary of what we know of the situation so far.

  • New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell said that while Ida left major damage on the city, the worst case scenario did not happen. “We did not have another Katrina,” she said. Officials have confirmed that levees around the state were not damaged by the storm, saving the state from even more severe flooding.
  • New Orlean’s biggest problem right now is the city-wide power outage that is affecting over a million residents. A major transmission tower fell into the Mississippi River Sunday night during the storm. Officials said it is unclear when power will be restored.
  • Joe Biden held a public meeting with Louisiana officials and reported that the storm’s death toll, currently standing at one person, “is likely to grow”. The leaders assured the public that massive rescue efforts are underway in areas of the state that have experienced severe flooding. The National Guard in New Orleans said that over 4,900 guard members have been deployed throughout the state.

Thanks for reading – we’ll be closing this live blog for the day. You can find more of the Guardian’s Hurricane Ida coverage here.

Updated

Cellular network AT&T has reported major network outages in parts of southern Louisiana, including Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The network said that Louisiana is operating at 60% of normal capacity due to power outages from Hurricane Ida.

Cynthia Lee, the president of Jefferson Parish, said during a meeting with the White House and other local leaders that she has not been able to get in contact with Grand Isle, a coastal town south of New Orleans. Jefferson Parish sheriff Joe Lopinto said that a helicopter crew has been able to make visual contact with rescue crews on Grand Isle, who gave a thumbs up to the helicopter from the ground.

Dramatic video footage showed the severe flooding and damage seen on Grand Isle, which has a population of about 700.

U.S. Coast Guard conduct post-storm overflight search and rescue and port assessments of areas impacted by Hurricane Ida Video from @USCGHeartland shows the impacts the storm had on Grand Isle.https://t.co/zadG5nWDSC pic.twitter.com/kDi9HtKR9F

— KATC TV3 (@KATCTV3) August 30, 2021

Joe Biden just said in a meeting at the White House that so far there is still an official death toll of one from Hurricane Ida’s impact on Louisiana, but warned “that number is likely to grow”.

The White House, where Joe Biden is helming a virtual meeting with officials dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
The White House, where Joe Biden is helming a virtual meeting with officials dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. Photograph: Alexander Drago/Reuters

He said that the storm had had the potential “to cause massive damage”.

Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards, right now in that virtual meeting with the US president, said that authorities in the area are making progress.

“We are still in lifesaving mode here, doing search and rescue,” Edwards said.

He noted that roads were clogged with fallen trees and other debris.

Biden said at least 5,000 soldiers of the National Guard from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas were deploying to help with rescue efforts and recovery.

Updated

Biden talks on impact of Hurricane Ida

Joe Biden is speaking now at the White House, where he’s meeting virtually with the Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards and officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema). He said he’d keep it brief, because officials are “busy as the devil”.

The US president is talking about providing support for those affected by the hurricane so far.

“We need people to continue to shelter in place”, he said, if that place is safe.

Biden said a million people in Louisiana are without power and “folks are dealing with flash flooding” and surges of flood waters and tides.

“It’s in moments like these that you see the power of government if they respond, that’s our job, to help you get back on your feet..and coordinating all branches of government. We are going to stand with the people of the Gulf,” Biden said. He pointed out that the people of Louisiana and neighboring Mississippi are “resilient”.

Edwards is pointing out that levees held, even if some were overtopped.

“It would be a different story altogether if any of those levee systems had failed,” Edwards said.

He added that recovery will be “a long haul”.

New Orleans mayor: "We did not have another Katrina."

In a press conference moments ago, New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell said that the impact of Hurricane Ida has been “absolutely significant” but the worst case scenario did not happen.

“We did not have another Katrina,” she said.

City officials are currently going block to block assessing the damage left in the storm’s wake.

Cantrell said that there have been some building collapses and fires, though no “massive destruction”. The main issue has been the city-wide power outage affecting residents after a major transmission tower collapsed into the Mississippi River. Cantrell said it is not safe for resident who evacuated to return to their homes, while those who are still sheltered in their homes should not leave their neighborhoods.

Cantrell along with Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards and other local officials will be meeting with the White House at 1:30 pm ET to discuss recovery efforts.

Cantrell: Category 4 hurricane slammed into our coast and sat on us for hours. The worst case scenario did not happen. We did not have another Katrina. We should all be thankful. But while we held the line, now is not the time for re-entry. #hurricaneida

— Jessica Williams (@jwilliamsNOLA) August 30, 2021

Hospitals in Louisiana were already overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients before the storm hit on Sunday. Now, hospitals are dealing with two crisis at once.

Ochsner Health, the largest hospital system in Louisiana, said in a press conference that they decided to evacuate two hospitals – one in Raceland and the other in Houma – this morning. The patients, of which there are 65 who are being transferred out, will be taken to other hospitals within the system.

“Pretty much every hospital we have had some sort of roof issue,” Warner Thomas, Ochsner CEO, said at the press conference.

Another hospital, Terrebonne General Medical in Houma, has asked Ochsner to assist in evacuating 100 patients. THe hospital reported significant room damage and water intrusion.

Ochsner says biggest challenge in upcoming days post Hurricane Ida is figuring out how to handle their staffing challenges. As staff run hospitals, they're also dealing with problems at their own homes, which don't have power or water.

— Andrea Gallo (@aegallo) August 30, 2021

Dozens of rescue boats have been deployed in Louisiana to rescue trapped residents.

Jefferson Parish, a suburb of New Orleans, said it knew of 500 people who said they were going to stay in areas that have been flooded, according to the Associated Press. Boats are being sent out to anyone potentially trapped in their home by floodwaters.

Some residents have resorted to sharing their addresses on social media to signal need for help.

Thousands were ordered to evacuate over the weekend as it became clear that the storm was heading on a destructive path. Multiple evacuation shelters have been opened across the state.

The Louisiana National Guard tweeted last night that 4,900 guard members, 195 high-water vehicles, 73 rescue boats and 34 helicopters have been deployed to help with rescue operations.

A flooded highway in LaPlace, Louisiana.
A flooded highway in LaPlace, Louisiana. Photograph: Mickey Welsh/Reuters

Dramatic photos and videos on social media are starting to show the extent of Ida’s damage in Louisiana.

Flooding was seen in LaPlace, a town outside New Orleans, with trees and street signs completely submerged by water.

Flooding in La Place, LA following #HurricaneIda. @NWSNewOrleans @spann @AlaStormTracker pic.twitter.com/uqkEAWIzGi

— Bryan Sharpe (@TBLwx803) August 30, 2021

A video compiled by the Weather Channel shows security camera footage at various places taken an hour apart, showing how quickly some places have been flooded.

Chilling before and after footage of #Ida's impacts in Louisiana, taken only an hour apart.

We're live with the latest details you need to know about this ongoing storm. pic.twitter.com/FROCxPphWH

— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) August 30, 2021

Cynthia Lee, president of Jefferson Parish, told CNN that “the worst case scenario seems to have happened” and that flooding in some homes is “beyond chest-high. It’s up to the top of the roof.”

Broderick Sanders, a 31 year old resident of Slidell, a city outside of New Orleans, on the other side of Lake Pontchartrain had evacuated to New Orleans on Friday.

He said he watched his home subsumed by water on a security camera live stream.

“Everything went under,” he said, sitting on the steps of a hotel in downtown New Orleans. “It was crazy watching it.”

He evacuated with his wife and one-year-old daughter, Tynara, and said he was unsure when he’d return home.

Still, said Sanders, who survived Katrina in 2005, the experience of Ira was completely different. He lost his father and uncle back in 2005.

“I feel much luckier this time,” he said.

Broderick Sanders, 31, and his daughter, Tynara.
Broderick Sanders, 31, and his daughter, Tynara. Photograph: Oliver Laughland/The Guardian

The Karnofsky Shop, a historic New Orleans site where a Jewish immigrant family helped nurture Louis Armstrong’s love of music, collapsed when Hurricane Ida hit New Orleans yesterday.

THe Karnofsky family loaned Armstrong money for his first cornet. “Louis said it was the Karnofskys that instilled the love of singing in his heart,” John McCusker, a retired journalist, told local news station 4WWL. “The family would feed him and they would eat dinner together and they would sing to get the children to sleep.”

Multiple plans to restore the abandoned building had been made, though none came into fruition.

Hurricane Ida was a category 4 hurricane when it hit New Orleans, with gusts reaching 130 miles per hour.

NEW VIDEO: The historic Karnofsky Music Shop in New Orleans has collapsed. It was no match for the winds of Hurricane Ida. Video from @JackRoyer. So so sad. 😪 pic.twitter.com/42BpfaenLc

— Ed Bloodsworth (@WKRGEd) August 30, 2021

New Orlean’s power provider said that a major transmission tower fell into a river due to Hurricane Ida, leaving hundreds of thousands without power.

CEO of @EntergyNOLA Deanna Rodriguez:
850K outages in La.
A huge piece of equipment called a transmission tower, which weighs thousands of pounds, fell into the river! This is a structure that survived Katrina.
No timeline on restoration until crews can assess damage@wwltv

— Sheba Turk (@ShebaTurk) August 30, 2021

The company said “it will likely take days to determine the extent of damage to our power grid in metro New Orleans and far longer to restore electrical transmission to the region.”

It will likely take days to determine the extent of damage to our power grid in metro New Orleans and far longer to restore electrical transmission to the region. Deanna Rodriguez, president and CEO of Entergy New Orleans, shares updates with @NOLAnews early this morning. https://t.co/I9PpxxugmX

— Entergy New Orleans (@EntergyNOLA) August 30, 2021

I spent Sunday night locked up inside my home, near downtown. The house has been here for a century and a half and has withstood a number of major hurricanes including Katrina and Zeta last year.

The power went out around 8pm yesterday leaving us in the secure room, the room with the least windows and least external exposure (our living room) using candles and torch light.

The sound of pounding winds and swirling debris clattering into the house is not at all pleasant. Our roof also began to leak throughout the evening leaving small puddles of water around the house.

It’s tempting to look outside and try to assess the severity, but keeping the shutters closed is paramount to keeping the house as safe as possible.

This morning we walked out into our yard and found parts of the roof broken up on the concrete outside, but thankfully there was no flooding and no major structural damage.

Oliver Laughland is the Guardian’s US southern bureau chief, based in New Orleans.

Updated

Good morning, this is Lauren Aratani with the latest development on Hurricane Ida as it makes its way across the southeastern United States.

As day broke in Louisiana Monday morning, the damage of the storm is starting to become clear. Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards tweeted Monday morning advising residents to stay in place as the storm has left “many hazards”.

As the sun comes out this morning, please remain where you are. #Ida has left many hazards across Louisiana including flooded roadways, debris & downed powerlines. Follow the instructions of local officials & continue to be safe. #lagov #HurricaneIda

— John Bel Edwards (@LouisianaGov) August 30, 2021

According to a report from the News Orleans Advocate, some patients at Thibodaux Regional Health System in Lafourche Parish, southwest of New Orleans, had to transport Covid-19 patients to a different floor due to a partial power outage at the hospital.

Staff had to manually ventilate patients by hand, pushing air in and out their lungs through bags in lieu of mechanical ventilators. It is not clear how many patients had to be transported

Jerome Zeringue, a Louisiana state representative, said that he has been in touch with a physician who reported that generators failed in the hospital’s intensive care unit and that conditions at the hospital were “Katrinaesque”.

The state’s health department has said that generators at other hospitals are operating as expected.

  • One person has died and more than one million people have been left without power, as Hurricane Ida, one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the US, has caused devastation across Louisiana.
  • Hurricane Ida made landfall late on Sunday morning at Port Fourchon, exactly 16 years since Hurricane Katrina, the catastrophic hurricane that killed more than 1,800 on the Gulf coast in 2005. The hurricane hit Louisiana as a Category 4 storm, lashing the coast with 150 mile-per-hour winds, and torrential downpours. It has since weakened to a tropical storm.
  • President Joe Biden has declared the event a major disaster and ordered federal aid to help recovery efforts.
  • The full extent of the damage remains unclear. Overnight, residents were told to evacute from Alliance, south of New Orleans, after a levee failure was reported. Another levee failure also occurred in the Lafitte and Jean Lafitte areas, where residents were urged to immediately seek higher ground. Elsewhere, some remain trapped in attics in LePlace, which suffered severe flooding.
  • Some hospitals have suffered damage to their buildings, just as they are dealing with the impact of a fourth wave of Covid.
  • The energy company Entergy earlier confirmed power had been cut off across the entire of New Orleans.
  • This morning, the center of Ida is expected to move further inland over southeastern Louisiana, and then move into southwestern Mississippi.
    This afternoon and tonight, Ida is forecast to move over central and northeastern Mississippi, and move across the Tennessee Valley on Tuesday.

That’s all from me - I’m now handing over to colleagues in New York, who will bring the latest developments.

Updated

An uprooted tree lays on a house as Hurricane Ida hits Morgan City, Louisiana.
An uprooted tree lays on a house as Hurricane Ida hits Morgan City, Louisiana. Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock
The remains of the Buddy Bolden mural on the wall of The Little Gem Saloon are seen on S. Rampart St. in New Orleans, La., early Monday, Aug. 30, 2021.
The remains of the Buddy Bolden mural on the wall of The Little Gem Saloon are seen on S. Rampart St. in New Orleans, early Monday, Aug. 30, 2021. Photograph: Max Becherer/AP
A Morgan City police car patrols the streets during a mandatory curfew as Hurricane Ida hits Morgan City, Louisiana, the United States.
A Morgan City police car patrols the streets during a mandatory curfew as Hurricane Ida hits Morgan City, Louisiana, the United States. Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock

Here is Associated Press’ latest report from Louisiana:

All of New Orleans lost power right around sunset Sunday, leading to an uneasy night of pouring rain and howling winds. The weather died down shortly before dawn and people began carefully walking around neighborhoods with flashlights, dodging downed light poles, pieces of roofs and branches

Levees failed or were overtopped in the maze of rivers and bayous south of New Orleans, threatening hundreds of homes. On social media, people posted their addresses and locations — directing search and rescue teams to their attics or rooftops.

Officials promised to start the massive rescue effort as the weather broke and the sun rose.

The torrential rains mostly moved into Mississippi on Monday as the storm slowly moved north. Destructive winds and water already had a catastrophic impact along the southeast coast of Louisiana, and life-threatening river flooding continued well inland, the National Hurricane Center said.

National Weather Service’s New Orleans office has posted a long list of flooded streets. The full extent of the damage caused by Ida is only beginning to emerge as daylight returns.

Multiple flooded streets in New Orleans. Please stay sheltered in place unless you absolutely have to travel. Make sure to allow extra time and avoid the following flooded streets if traveling is required. #lawx pic.twitter.com/TGM3WAKR1D

— NWS New Orleans (@NWSNewOrleans) August 30, 2021

Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office, in southern Louisiana, is reporting “catastrophic damage”. Cell service and phone lines are down in many areas, including 911, it said in a statement on Twitter.

If you are able to call, emergency calls can be made to (985) 772-4810 or (985) 772-4824. We ask that you restrict calls to us to KNOWN EMERGENCIES so as not to tie up our lines.

Thousands of you have not heard from loved ones in many hours and are concerned about the welfare. We are spread out throughout the parish seeking to find anyone in need of help. If there is a KNOWN emergency, however, please call us.

🧵 Hurricane #Ida has caused catastrophic damage in Lafourche Parish. Deputies have been deployed in full force today responding to emergencies, searching for those who need help, and helping clear roads. Curfew remains in effect and will be STRICTLY enforced. 1/4 pic.twitter.com/3AW49AG1ia

— Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office (@LafourcheSO) August 30, 2021

Ida spent 16 hours over land as a hurricane, causing devastation across Louisiana, before finally weakening to a tropical storm at 4am CDT.

The true scale of the damage caused by Ida will only begin to become clear this morning.

Residents in LePlace are still reportedly awaiting rescue. Many sought safety on their roof tops and attics as the area was hit by heavy flooding, and took to social media to call for urgent help.

South of New Orleans, residents from Alliance were urged to immediately evacuated in the early hours, following a levee failure. Residents were offered shelter at the Belle Chasse Auditorium.

A levee failure also occured late last night at the Lafitte and Jean Lafitte area, according to the National Weather Service’s New Orleans office. More than 200 people were said to be at risk, and told to find higher ground.

More than one million customers in Louisiana and more than 100,000 customers in Mississippi will awake to power cuts, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks outages.

Ida will take a toll on the energy, chemical and shipping industries that have major hubs along the Gulf Coast, but the impact on the overall U.S. economy should be modest, reports Associated Press - so long as damage estimates don’t rise sharply and refinery shutdowns are not prolonged.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said the disruptions caused by Ida will likely lead him to downgrade his forecast for annual US economic growth in the current July-September quarter by a few tenths of a percentage point. But that economic loss, he said, could be reversed in the final quarter of the year as a result of the rebuilding from the hurricane’s damage that will likely follow.

Zandi said he expects the nation’s gross domestic product — its total output of goods and services — to grow at a 6.5% annual rate in the second half of this year, matching the average growth of the first six months. Still, besides the impact of Ida, Zandi noted that the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus poses risks to the economic outlook, depending on how much it leads Americans to slow their spending on travel, restaurant meals or other forms of spending.

“The key channel for Ida to impact the broader economy is through energy prices,” Zandi said. “We will have to see how much damage occurred to production in the Gulf and how long that production will stay offline.”

A brief spike in gasoline prices could result, Zandi said, because of the production shutdowns. But he suggested that the increase in pump prices might last for only a few weeks.

“The worst-case scenario is Ida might add 10 cents to 20 cents to the price of a gallon of gas through September,” he said. “That would be consistent with what has happened in the past when we have had bad storms blow through Louisiana.”

New Orleans Police detective Alexander Reiter, looks over debris from a building that collapsed during Hurricane Ida in New Orleans, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021.
New Orleans Police detective Alexander Reiter, looks over debris from a building that collapsed during Hurricane Ida in New Orleans, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021. Photograph: Gerald Herbert/AP
Cajun Navy disaster response team members clear a fallen tree along Highway 90 in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in Donner, Louisiana.
Cajun Navy disaster response team members clear a fallen tree along Highway 90 in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in Donner, Louisiana. Photograph: Adrees Latif/Reuters
Montegut and Bourg firefighters cut through trees on the road in Bourg, Louisiana.
Montegut and Bourg firefighters cut through trees on the road in Bourg, Louisiana. Photograph: Mark Felix/AFP/Getty Images

Ida weakens into a tropical storm

The National Hurricane Center has issued its latest advisory.

Ida is now a tropical storm over Southwestern Mississippi. Dangerous storm surge, damaging winds, and flash flooding continue over portions of Southeastern Louisiana and Southern Mississippi.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for:
Grand Isle, Louisiana, to the Alabama/Florida border

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:
Grand Isle, Louisiana, to the Alabama/Florida border, including Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Metropolitan New Orleans

Ida is moving north at 8 mph (13 km/h), according to NHC. Early this morning, the center of Ida is expected to move further inland over southeastern Louisiana, and then move into southwestern Mississippi.

This afternoon and tonight, Ida is forecast to move over central and northeastern Mississippi, and move across the Tennessee Valley on Tuesday.

Ida is expected to weaken further over the next day or so, and to become a tropical depression by this evening.

Updated

Flash flood warnings west of New Orleans

The National Weather Service has warned of flash flood emergencies in LaPlace, Luling and Destrehan, west of New Orleans. Residents are advised to move immediately to higher ground.

Flash Flood Emergency including Laplace LA, Luling LA, Destrehan LA until 7:15 AM CDT pic.twitter.com/o9qCgMzHOX

— NWS New Orleans (@NWSNewOrleans) August 30, 2021

All American Airlines and United Airlines outbound flights from Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport in Jackson, Mississippi, have been cancelled.

TRAVEL ALERT 🚨

All @AmericanAir & @united outbound flights at JAN have been canceled due to the expected inclement weather conditions caused by Hurricane Ida.

AA expects to resume departing flights on Tuesday, Aug. 31.

Check your flight status at https://t.co/ffq6cucltC. pic.twitter.com/jXwCJaVMVJ

— JMAA (@JacksonAirports) August 30, 2021

Fierce winds are being felt in McComb, and others areas of southwestern Mississippi. The National Weather Service has urged people not to go outside. “Power outages likely and wind damage possible,” it said on Twitter.

Strongest winds yet in McComb! @WJTV pic.twitter.com/GsVLSpl1YG

— Blake Levine (@blake_levine) August 30, 2021

Disruption to power and mobile networks is making it harder to get up-to-date information.

Experiencing issues with cell service. We are having trouble getting in touch with many officials to get updates @WWLTV

— Sheba Turk (@ShebaTurk) August 30, 2021

The Emergency Communications Center for the City of New Orleans also said earlier that the 9-1-1 service is experiencing technical difficulties.

At this time, 9-1-1 is experiencing technical difficulties.
If you find yourself in an emergency, please go to your nearest fire station or approach your nearest officer. We will update you once this issue has been resolved. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/BE2AxwFuDa

— OPCD911 (@opcd911) August 30, 2021

One person has died as Hurricane Ida, one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the US, knocked out power to all of New Orleans, reversed the flow of the Mississippi River and blew roofs off buildings across Louisiana.

The first death was reported in Prairieville, a suburb of Baton Rouge, after a tree fell on a house, said the sheriff of Ascension Parish.

Across Louisiana, more than a million households were without power, and the outage in New Orleans had left the city more vulnerable to flooding – 16 years after Hurricane Katrina caused devastation.

Hundreds of thousands of the city’s residents were without refrigeration in sweltering summer heat, and had been told to conserve water after sewage pumping stations – which have no back-up power – ground to a halt. Boil-water notices were issued in some areas.

Hurricane Ida Bears Down On Louisiana As A Major StormNEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - AUGUST 29: Debris is seen in an intersection in downtown on August 29, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Hurricane Ida made landfall earlier today and continues to cut across Louisiana. Hurricane Ida has been classified as a Category 4 storm with winds of 150 mph. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Debris is seen in an intersection in downtown on August 29, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photograph: Brandon Bell/Getty Images
Montegut fire chief Toby Henry walks back to his fire truck in the rain as firefighters cut through trees on the road in Bourg, on August 29, 2021.
Montegut fire chief Toby Henry walks back to his fire truck in the rain as firefighters cut through trees on the road in Bourg, on August 29, 2021. Photograph: Mark Felix/AFP/Getty Images
Montegut and Bourg firefighters cut through trees on the road in Bourg, Louisiana as Hurricane Ida passes on August 29, 2021.
Montegut and Bourg firefighters cut through trees on the road in Bourg, Louisiana as Hurricane Ida passes on August 29, 2021. Photograph: Mark Felix/AFP/Getty Images

The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center has warned of a continued risk of tornadoes:

A threat for a few tornadoes will continue today (8/30) as the tropical system #Ida begins to curve to the east. Portions of southeast Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama, and the western Florida Panhandle will be affected. #lawx #mswx #alwx #flwx pic.twitter.com/GNqEBH9kd3

— NWS Storm Prediction Center (@NWSSPC) August 30, 2021

A loss of generator power at the Thibodaux Regional Health System hospital in Lafourche Parish, southwest of New Orleans, forced medical workers to manually assist respirator patients with breathing while they were moved to another floor, the state Health Department told Reuters.

Lady of the Sea General Hospital, also in Lafourche Parish, near where Ida made landfall, reported extensive roof damage

It was not possible to evacuate patients from hospitals in the worst hit areas, because health facilities elsewhere are already very busy. Louisiana is currently facing a rise in Covid infections, due partly to the spread of the Delta variant and low vaccine rates. An estimated 2,450 Covid-19 patients are hospitalized across the state.

Updated

Summary

  • One person has died and more than one million people have been left without power, as Hurricane Ida, one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the US, causes devastation across Louisiana.
  • Hurrican Ida made landfall late on Sunday morning at Port Fourchon, exactly 16 years since Hurricane Katrina, the catastrophic hurricane that killed more than 1,800 on the Gulf coast in 2005. The hurricane hit Louisiana as a Category 4 storm, lashing the coast with 150 mile-per-hour winds, and torrential downpours. It has since weakened to a Category 1 hurricane.
  • President Joe Biden has declared the event a major disaster and ordered federal aid to help recovery efforts.
  • On Sunday night, more than 200 people were “in imminent danger” in the Lafitte and Jean Lafitte area, according to the National Weather Service’s New Orleans office, which said a levee was reportedly failing. It urged resident to seek higher ground immediately.
  • In LePlace, which has suffered heavy flooding, residents have been posting on social media to say they urgently need help and are stuck on their roof tops and in attics.
  • Several hospitals have suffered damage to their buildings, just as they are dealing with the impact of a fourth wave of Covid.
  • The energy company Entergy earlier confirmed power had been cut off across the entire of New Orleans, and that it would not be restored tonight.

Updated

Hurricane Ida was so strong it reversed the flow of the Mississippi River on Sunday - an extremely rare occurrence.

“I remember, off hand, that there was some flow reversal of the Mississippi River during Hurricane Katrina, but it is extremely uncommon,” Scott Perrien, a supervising hydrologist with the USGS Lower Mississippi Gulf Water Science Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, told CNN.

Mississippi River at Belle Chase flowing upstream as storm surge pushes inland #lawx pic.twitter.com/Btt8vXZfs6

— Jeff Lindner (@JeffLindner1) August 29, 2021

Updated

“We’ve never seen one like this, it’s the worst storm in our history,” Lafitte Mayor Tim Kerner Jr tells WGNO TV. A flash flood warning was issued for Lafitte earlier, after a levee was reported to be at risk of failing.

MUST LISTEN: Lafitte Mayor Tim Kerner Jr. pleads for help with water rescues saying 200 people stranded and in “imminent danger," per @SusanRoesgen. pic.twitter.com/uuGmW3ZxXE

— WGNO-TV (ABC) New Orleans (@WGNOtv) August 30, 2021

Footage taken by at locked-off camera at the eye of the hurricane at Port Fourchon, Louisiana.

New Orleans Weather Service issues a warning for areas north of Lake Pontchartrain.

🌊 MIDNIGHT: STORM SURGE IS CONTINUEING TO RISE RAPIDLY ON THE NORTHSIDE OF THE LAKE. If you are around Madisonville, Mandeville, Ponchatoula, or Killian please stay alert as water quickly rises. #Ida #LAwx pic.twitter.com/6DiQw81wXj

— NWS New Orleans (@NWSNewOrleans) August 30, 2021

Many residents in LePlace are sharing their names and addresses on social media, asking for urgent assistance. People are trapped in their attics and on their roof tops.

CBSN Dallas - Fort Worth was sent the following message from a woman who is begging for help for her stranded mother.

SOUND ON ‼️: I was sent this message on social media. A lady says her mom is trapped in her Laplace home. She’s begging for help. Her address: 11 ridgewood Dr. Laplace, LA

So many are posting about needing assistance, but officials say they can’t send help until roads are safe pic.twitter.com/WUY74tSc9q

— Kennedi Walker (@_KennediWalker) August 30, 2021

From Frenier Landing, on the west of Lake Pontchartrain, in LaPlace, where there is heavy flooding

The camera that we put in Laplace at Frenier Landing was 10 feet above the ground. This is what it looks like right now. pic.twitter.com/r1sPslU7nU

— Mark Sudduth (@hurricanetrack) August 30, 2021

Updated

More than one million customers in Louisiana are without power, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks outages.

The energy company Entergy earlier confirmed that power had been cut off across the entire of New Orleans, describing “catastrophic transmission damage”. In a statement, Entergy said power will not be restored this evening:

  • As a result of Hurricane Ida’s catastrophic intensity, all eight transmission lines that deliver power into the New Orleans area are currently out of service. When this occurred, it caused a load imbalance in the area and resulted in generation in the area coming offline.
  • We are currently working to assess damage and identify a path forward to restore power, to those who can take it, in the area.
  • We have provided back-up generation to the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board.
  • Power will not be restored this evening, but we will continue work to remedy.

Updated

Ida downgraded to a category 1 hurricane

Ida has weakened to a category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, according to the US National Hurricane Center latest advisory.

Ida is now located about 30 miles (50 km) east-southeast of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with maximum sustained winds of 95 miles per hour (155 km per hour), the NHC said.

Updated

A levee is in danger of collapsing, according to the National Weather Service, which has said more than 200 people are in danger in the Lafitte and Jean Lafitte area in Jefferson Parish.

“This is a particularly dangerous situation,” the weather service warns, urging people to seek higher ground immediately.

Updated

New Orleans Weather Service said it has received reports of significant flooding in Laplace, which is located in St. John the Baptist Parish.

It has also warned people not to go outside, even to try to help others. “It is still too dangerous,” it said. “Yes we all want to help so badly but you will only put your life in danger as well.”

We have received multiple reports of significant flooding in Laplace. The eastern eye wall of #Ida is affecting the area now, with sustained hurricane force winds likely occurring. Take whatever means are necessary to protect your life! #lawx pic.twitter.com/KhvhBKt4tc

— NWS New Orleans (@NWSNewOrleans) August 30, 2021

Updated

Biden declares major disaster and orders federal aid help recovery efforts

President Joe Biden has declared a major disaster in Louisiana and ordered federal aid to supplement recovery efforts in the areas affected by Hurricane Ida, the White House said on Sunday.

“Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster,” the White House said.

Several hospitals in Southern Louisiana have reported damage and disruption caused by Ida.

Lady of the Sea General Hospital in Lafourche Parish, near where Ida made landfall, reported extensive roof damage. “All patients and staff are fine at this time without injury; although, our hospital has sustained significant damage,” hospital CEO Karen Collins told Associated Press over Facebook. The hospital’s phone system was down.

Another Lafourche Parish hospital, Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, reported a partial generator failure to the state. Christina Stephens, a spokesperson for Gov. John Bel Edwards, told AP the facility “had not lost all critical power.” She said some patients were moved to another part of the facility and the state health department was working with the hospital.

Hospital wards are already dealing with a rise in Covid patient due to a fourth wave of Covid, which has been driven by the highly contagious delta variant and low vaccination rates across Louisiana.

Below is footage of a roof being torn off at the Ochsner health’s main campus.

Nurse captures roof being blown off at OCHSNER main campus. (credit: Courtesy: Chrissy Gottbrath) #HurricaneIda #nola pic.twitter.com/xSM95o1Yj1

— BunChoum (@BunChoum) August 30, 2021

An advisory issued by the National Hurricane Centre at 10.00pm CDT:

  • Life threatening storm surge inundation will continue through tonight along portions of the coast between Burns Point, Louisiana, to Ocean Sprints, Mississippi. Overtopping of local levees outside of the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System is possible where local inundation values may be higher.
  • Wind damage will occur near the core of Ida as it continues inland over southeastern Louisiana during the next few hours. Damaging winds, especially in gusts, will spread inland near the track of Ida’s center into southwestern Mississippi through early Monday. These winds will likely lead to widespread tree damage and power outages.
  • Ida will continue to produce heavy rainfall tonight through Monday across southeast Louisiana, coastal Mississippi, and southwestern Alabama, resulting in considerable to life-threatening flash and urban flooding and significant riverine flooding impacts. As Ida moves father inland, considerable flooding impacts are possible across portions of the Lower Mississippi Valley, Tennessee Valley, Upper Ohio Valley, Central Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic through Wednesday.

The power company Entergy has said its Waterford 3 nuclear plant, which is based in Killona, in St Charles Parish, is “stable and secure”, following an unusual event declared at 6.12pm.

Outlying buildings at Waterford 3 have “minor damage due to the storm”. The company said: “Nuclear plants are designed to withstand extreme conditions, with steel-reinforced concrete containment structures protecting the reactors and redundant safety systems.”

Waterford 3 declared an Unusual Event at 6:12 p.m. after losing power from offsite. An NOUE is the least serious of NRC emergency response classifications. Backup diesel generators started as designed and are providing power to the plant, which is stable and secure.

— EntergyNuclear (@EntergyNuclear) August 30, 2021

Hurricane Ida Bears Down On Louisiana As A Major StormNEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - AUGUST 29: A group of people cross an intersection during Hurricane Ida on August 29, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Hurricane Ida made landfall earlier today and continues to cut across Louisiana. Hurricane Ida has been classified as a Category 4 storm with winds of 150 mph. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
A group of people cross an intersection during Hurricane Ida on August 29, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images) Photograph: Brandon Bell/Getty Images
A man takes pictures of high waves along the shore of Lake Pontchartrain as Hurricane Ida nears, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
A man takes pictures of high waves along the shore of Lake Pontchartrain as Hurricane Ida nears, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) Photograph: Gerald Herbert/AP
A section of roof that was blown off of a building in the French Quarter by Hurricane Ida winds blocks an intersection, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
A section of roof that was blown off of a building in the French Quarter by Hurricane Ida winds blocks an intersection, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) Photograph: Eric Gay/AP

Though many left Louisiana’s capital city, Baton Rouge, for safer locations ahead of Hurricane Ida, others had no choice but to stay. Associated Press has spoken to Robert Owens, 27, who hoped to leave with his wife, his mother-in-law, roommate and four pets, but was unable to pay for fuel and a hotel room.

Out of desperation, Owens went to ACE Cash Express on Saturday and submitted documents for a payday loan. He was denied, after being told he didn’t have enough credit history. By Sunday, it was clear they would be riding out the storm at home in his family’s duplex apartment.
“Our bank account is empty - we can’t afford to leave,” he said.
Owens said the majority of people in his low-income neighborhood are in the same predicament. They want to leave to protect families, but have no choice but to stay.
“A lot of us here in my neighborhood have to just hunker down and wait, not knowing how bad it’s going to get. It’s a terrifying feeling,” he said.
“There people who have funds to lean on are able to get out of here, but there’s a big chunk of people that are lower-income that don’t have a savings account to fall on,” he continued. “We’re left behind.”

Updated

First death related to Hurricane Ida

The first death related to Hurricane Ida has been reported by the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office. In a statement on Facebook, it said:

Shortly after 8:30 p.m. deputies received reports of a citizen possibly injured from a fallen tree at a residence off of Highway 621 in Prairieville. Deputies arrived on scene and confirmed that the victim is now deceased.

Ida is now a category 2, WWL TV reports:

9 pm #Ida Update: A little more good news. Ida is back down to a Category 2 with winds of 110 mph. Pressure has come up to 950 mb. Slowly moving at 9 mph. Conditions will improve through the overnight and Monday. #BeOn4 @wwltv pic.twitter.com/6kzS1W5R3Q

— Chris Franklin WWL-TV (@CJohnFranklin) August 30, 2021

St Bernard Parish Government, in the southeast of New Orleans, has shared CCTV footage from around 3pm Sunday

Security camera footage from the Delacroix Yacht Club coming from the Delacroix back levee towards Bayou Terre Bouef. #ida #idahurricane #Category4 pic.twitter.com/jDnWiyT5j4

— St. Bernard Parish (@StBGov) August 29, 2021

The view from inside the WGNO station’s newsroom in metropolitan New Orleans

Ceiling tiles are beginning to fall in our WGNO Newsroom. Multiple leaks and holes in our roof. pic.twitter.com/uKnoULFajl

— Chris Welty (@Chris_R_Welty) August 30, 2021

Portions of the WGNO roof is coming off. pic.twitter.com/TlN71XiVto

— Chris Welty (@Chris_R_Welty) August 30, 2021

The Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans is asking residents to “limit water usage” at home, to decrease the amount of wastewater that needs to be removed - and help prevent sewage backups.

Due to the power cuts, the board is currently using “self-generated sources of power” to drain stormwater and pump drinking water into the city. However, there is no backup power to operate sewer pumping stations. “We are assessing how many of the 84 stations are impacted but the number may be very significant,” SWB New Orleans said.

Although we have lost all Entergy power, our teams are working quickly and decisively to make up for this with our self-generated power sources, including Turbines 4, 5, and 6 and EMD, as well as backup generators located at our drainage pumping stations.

— SWB New Orleans (@SWBNewOrleans) August 30, 2021

The hospital that lost some power is Thibodaux Regional Health System in Lafourche Parish. Andrea Gallo at the New Orleans Advertiser reports that a back-up generator failed, meaning staff had to manually ventilate some patients. It is unclear how many patients were affected but power generators appear to be working again.

Update on our story about Thibodaux Regional losing generator power in ICU: hospital says via social media that the generator is back on-line. Awaiting updates from other Louisiana hospitals about how they've fared today, Ochsner will brief us at 9 pm CSThttps://t.co/44PVoRZo2e

— Andrea Gallo (@aegallo) August 30, 2021

Power cut across entire city of New Orleans

Hello, Rebecca Ratcliffe here taking over from my colleague, Martin Farrer.

The energy company Entergy has confirmed that power has been cut off across the entire city, according to an update posted on Twitter by the New Orleans’ Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

The message describes “catastrophic transmission damage”.

@EntergyNOLA has confirmed that New Orleans has no power. The only power in the city is coming from generators. #Ida pic.twitter.com/9clSeFcz3T

— NOLA Ready (@nolaready) August 30, 2021

Updated

The storm surge and winds from Hurricane Ida was so strong it reversed the flow of the mighty Mississippi River. The same phenomenon happened during Hurricane Katrina but is “extremely uncommon”, USGS hydrologist Scott Perrien told CNN.

He said the river level rose about seven feet due to the surge, shifting the flow from 2 feet per second to about half a foot per second in the opposite direction.

Metairie is in metropolitan New Orleans:

@WGNOtv producers and directors forced to leave control room during our live coverage- the ceiling has peeled away— we are in the Galleria in Metairie

— Susan Roesgen (@SusanRoesgen) August 30, 2021

The Guardian’s US southern bureau chief, Oliver Laughland, is reporting from New Orleans whenever communications allow. The city has just issued a flash flood warning until midnight. It is 8.30pm there at time of writing.

There are reports that one of the hospitals in a coastal area of Louisiana had lost all power in its Covid intensive care unit and stall are manually ventilating a number patients. We will bring you more details as they confirmed.

Winds have not died down. It’s dark out and all of New Orleans has no power pic.twitter.com/5TErvbRCn1

— Joel Franco (@OfficialJoelF) August 30, 2021

Welcome to our rolling coverage of Hurricane Ida after it made landfall on the coast of Louisiana.

Here’s what we know so far:

  • Hurricane Ida has knocked out all power in the city of New Orleans after making landfall late on Sunday morning at Port Fourchon. The only power in the city is coming from generators.
  • Ida is one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the US and has wreaked havoc, ripping roofs off buildings, downing trees and reversing the flow of the Mississippi river.
  • It is 16 years exactly since Hurricane Katrina, the catastrophic hurricane that killed more than 1,800 on the Gulf coast in 2005.

Contributors

Lauren Aratani (now) and Rebecca Ratcliffe and Martin Farrer (earlier)

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Hurricane Ida: New Orleans loses power as category 4 storm hits
Storm hits land on 16th anniversary of Katrina, with Louisiana governor confident levees will hold

Oliver Laughland in New Orleans

30, Aug, 2021 @1:03 AM

Article image
New Orleans battered by Hurricane Ida as storm claims first victim in Louisiana
A million households without power as governor says system of levees overhauled after Hurricane Katrina will face ‘most severe test’

Oliver Laughland in New Orleans, Lauren Aratani in New York and agencies

30, Aug, 2021 @1:07 PM

Article image
Hurricane Ida: more than 1m without power as New Orleans assesses damage
Crews using airboats and helicopters conduct search and rescue missions after at least two people killed

Oliver Laughland in New Orleans and Richard Luscombe

31, Aug, 2021 @7:52 AM

Article image
Louisiana governor tells Hurricane Ida evacuees it’s too soon to return
More than 1m homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi without power but restoration could take weeks

Maya Yang

31, Aug, 2021 @8:52 PM

Article image
Hurricane Ida barrels down on Louisiana amid warnings of ‘life-altering storm’
Tens of thousands in US face evacuation orders as storm makes first landfall in Cuba, sparking fears of floods and mudslides

Oliver Laughland in New Orleans

28, Aug, 2021 @12:46 AM

Article image
‘Like a monster tried to get in’: New Orleans, scarred by Katrina, surveys Ida’s wreckage
Residents grapple with damaged buildings and widespread power outages – but find reasons to be thankful

Oliver Laughland in New Orleans and Bridge City, Louisiana

31, Aug, 2021 @5:00 AM

Article image
New Orleans defences hold up to Hurricane Isaac

Fortified levees and an elaborate flood containment plan appear to have spared city from disaster

Rory Carroll, Tom Dart and agencies in New Orleans

30, Aug, 2012 @10:31 AM

Article image
Storm Barry: New Orleans residents brace for possible hurricane
Many are staying in the city as storm Barry, predicted to land as a category one, approaches

Jamiles Lartey in New Orleans

12, Jul, 2019 @7:39 AM

Article image
Isaac to become hurricane as New Orleans braces for impact

Storm likely to reach land as category one hurricane on Katrina's seventh anniversary – but mayor decides not to order evacuation

Tom Dart and Ingrid Norton in New Orleans

28, Aug, 2012 @1:35 PM

Article image
New Orleans defences strained as hurricane Isaac pounds Gulf coast

Torrential rain and winds of 75mph strike Louisiana and Mississippi, knocking out power and threatening severe flooding

Rory Carroll and Tom Dart in New Orleans

29, Aug, 2012 @6:33 PM