Ida weakened to a tropical storm early Monday, and is moving to Mississippi as officials warned of life-threatening flash flooding and dangerous storm surges over parts of southeastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, and southern Alabama. Tornado threats also continued across the central Gulf states, the National Weather Service said.
One person died on Sunday after being possibly injured from a fallen tree at a residence in Ascension Parish, the sheriff’s office said.
“I fully expect that the death count will go up considerably throughout the day,” Gov. John Bel Edwards told MSNBC on Monday, as search and rescue efforts were underway.
Many 911 call centers throughout Louisiana were down, and people in New Orleans with emergencies were asked to go to their nearest fire station or flag down an officer.
More than 1,600 personnel, including the National Guard, have begun conducting search and rescue across the state, Edwards said.
The company said it will likely take days to determine the extent of the damage to the power grid in the city and “far longer” to restore electrical transmission in the region. Those in the hardest-hit areas could experience power outages for weeks, Entergy said.
As of Monday morning, a little over a million customers across the state were without power, according to PowerOutage.US. Power outages also affected more than 100,000 people in Mississippi.
While Edwards said Monday the state’s levee system performed very well, the mayor of the town of Jean Lafitte said that its tidal surge levees had overtopped on Sunday night, leaving up to 200 people in “imminent danger,” according to the National Weather Service.
Some residents, trapped in their attics or rooftops, posted their addresses on social media in an attempt to be rescued.
Jefferson Parish received approximately 200 calls for rescue as people endured “a very, very long night,” Cynthia Lee Sheng, president of Jefferson Parish, told the Today Show.
She said a lot of “frantic” family members hadn’t heard from their loves one through the night as there was no power and communication lines were down.
A mandatory curfew is in effect for all of Jefferson Parish until at least 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday. Residents were asked to minimize wastewater leaving their homes to avoid overloading the sewer system, with power outages increasing the likelihood of sewerage backups.
In Lafourche Parish, re-entry will be delayed for up to a week, maybe longer, as roads were unpassable, the Parish said. Lafourche, which has a population of nearly 98,000, is also under a boil water advisory with many residents without water.
There were reports of damage and loss of power in hospitals that are already struggling with the deluge of COVID-19 patients — with some facilities having to move patients around, and others planning to evacuate patients.
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