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