On Sunday, Hurricane Ida made landfall as a Category 4 storm in southeast Louisiana, and federal officials reported “catastrophic” devastation in certain areas. By early Sunday evening, Ida had fallen to a Category 3 hurricane with sustained gusts of 125 mph, but authorities indicated it will remain a hurricane and move inland into Monday afternoon.
The National Hurricane Center said that Ida made landfall over Port Fourchon, Louisiana, at approximately 11:55 a.m. CT. President Joe Biden stated that he signed disaster declarations to ensure Mississippi and Louisiana have “full access to the federal government’s resources and help.” Due to the cancellation of all Sunday flights in New Orleans, tens of thousands left by cars, blocking highways. The government has warned residents who do not evacuate to be prepared to fend for themselves for 72 hours without assistance.
By Monday, Hurricane Ida was downgraded to a tropical storm after slamming into Louisiana and knocking out electricity to over 1 million homes and businesses, including the city of New Orleans.
Authorities said that at least one person, a 60-year-old male, died in Ascension Parish after a tree collapsed on his residence.
In Louisiana, electric providers reported that little more than a million households and businesses were without power, while another 100,000 were without electricity in Mississippi.
Entergy New Orleans, the city’s primary power utility with roughly 200,000 customers, reported that the whole city lost power early Sunday evening due to “catastrophic damage” to its transmission infrastructure.
The company tweeted Monday that it “will almost certainly take days to assess the amount of damage to our power grid in metro New Orleans and much longer to restore electricity transmission to the region.”
According to the National Hurricane Center, the strong winds, heavy rains, and storm surge “had resulted in devastating consequences along Louisiana’s southeast coast.”
Local officials were preparing to examine the damage early Monday as the sun rose, and teams prepared to go out to check on those who had requested rescue throughout the night. Cynthia Lee Sheng, president of Jefferson Parish, told NBC’s “TODAY” that approximately 250 demands for assistance came in overnight.
“We are ending what was a terrifying night for many individuals waiting for their rescue,” she said. “Today is the day we are going to see the damage.”
She stated that levees in the Lafitte area had been topped but did not sustain structural damage.