(NEW YORK) — Ida is barreling through Louisiana after making landfall in the state as a powerful Category 4 hurricane on Sunday afternoon.
It was one of the strongest hurricanes on record — by both wind speed and pressure — to roar ashore in Louisiana.
Ida, now a tropical storm, is hitting on the 16-year anniversary of Katrina, a Category 3 hurricane that ravaged the Gulf Coast. Hurricane Katrina unleashed a series of events, taking the lives of more than 1,800 people and leaving more than $100 billion worth of damage in its wake.
Here are the latest developments. All times Eastern:
Aug 30, 8:20 am
‘We’re a broken community right now’
The president of hard-hit Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” Monday that all communication lines with Grand Isle were down.
Cynthia Lee Sheng said about 40 people are believed to have stayed on the barrier island, located about 100 miles south of New Orleans.
“We have lost contact with them since yesterday afternoon,” Sheng said. “We have first responder teams out there planning their strategy for today, ready to go out.”
Sheng also said there were concerns about Lafitte, Louisiana, saying officials had received reports of people trapped in their attics by high water.
“This is an area if you want to think of it like swampland, there’s alligators out there,” Sheng said.
She said rescue workers have not been able to reach the area due to darkness and downed power lines.
In addition to thousands in the area losing power, Sheng said the parish was losing pressure in its water system.
“We’ve had a lot of water main breaks,” she said. “Our water system is losing pressure and so in order to be able to fight fires, that is a very critical element. So, we’re trying to clear roads to do those water repairs.”
Sheng added, “We’re a broken community right now.”
Aug 30, 7:33 am
Over 1.1 million customers without power in 2 states
Ida, with its blustery winds and torrential rain, has left more than 1.1 million utility customers without power in Louisiana and Mississippi on Monday morning.
More than 1 million customers were without electricity in Louisiana, mostly in the southeast part of Bayou State where Ida made landfall, according to state emergency management officials.
In Mississippi, another 105,417 homes and businesses were without electricity, state officials said.
Aug 30, 5:41 am
Ida downgraded to tropical storm
About 16 hours after making landfall in Louisiana, Ida was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm early Monday morning.
As of 4 a.m. CT, Ida was moving north at 8 miles per hour with the eye of the storm located about 95 miles south-southwest of Jackson, Mississippi, and 50 miles north-northeast of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The storm’s maximum sustained winds have decreased near 60 miles per hour with higher gusts, according to an advisory from the National Weather Service.
The storm surge warning has been discontinued from Morgan City to Grand Isle, Louisiana. The hurricane and tropical storm warnings have been discontinued west of Grand Isle. The hurricane warning has been replaced with a tropical storm warning from Grand Isle to the mouth of the Pearl River, including Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas and metropolitan New Orleans. Storm surge and tropical storm warnings remain in effect for Grand Isle to the Alabama-Florida border, according to the National Weather Service.
Meanwhile, 16 states from Mississippi to New Jersey are still on alert for flash flooding. A flash flood watch is in place from the Gulf Coast to New Jersey.
So far, the highest rainfall total was recorded in LaPlace, Louisiana, which received 15 inches. A flash flood emergency remains in effect there, according to the National Weather Service.
Ida is forecast to rapidly weaken even more over the next day or so, becoming a tropical depression by Monday evening.
The storm will move farther inland over southeastern Louisiana early Monday and into southwestern Mississippi later in the morning. Ida is then forecast to move over central and northeastern Mississippi on Monday afternoon and evening before moving across the Tennessee Valley on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.
Aug 30, 4:40 am
Tornado warning issued for parts of southern Mississippi
The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for eastern Harrison County and northwestern Jackson County, both in southern Mississippi.
As Hurricane Ida approaches the Magnolia State, a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located via radar over Biloxi in Mississippi’s Harrison County early Monday at 2:46 a.m. CT. The “tornadic thunderstorm” was moving north at 65 miles per hour, according to an alert from the National Weather Service, which urged people to “take cover now!”
“Move to a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows,” the National Weather Service said. “If you are outdoors, in a mobile home, or in a vehicle, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris.”
The storm could impact the Gulfport–Biloxi International Airport as well as several miles of Interstate 10 and 110 in Mississippi, according to the National Weather Service. The tornado warning will remain in effect until 3:45 a.m. CT.
“Flying debris will be dangerous to those caught without shelter,” the National Weather Service warned. “Mobile homes will be damaged or destroyed. Damage to roofs, windows, and vehicles will occur. Tree damage is likely.”
Aug 30, 4:16 am
New Orleans ‘experiencing technical difficulties’ with 911 system
The emergency communications center for New Orleans said it is “experiencing technical difficulties” with its 911 system, after the city lost power due to Hurricane Ida.
“If you find yourself in an emergency, please go to your nearest fire station or approach your nearest officer,” the Orleans Parish Communication District announced via Twitter early Monday. “We will update you once this issue has been resolved.”
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