Ida, now a tropical storm, continues path of destruction

More than a million homes and businesses were hit with power outages in Louisiana

A weakened but still powerful Tropical Storm Ida was over southwestern Mississippi early Monday after trudging north through Louisiana. Ida crashed into land as an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane Sunday. It was pummelling parts of the two states with heavy rain, a dangerous storm surge, damaging winds, and flash flooding, the National Hurricane Center said.

More than a million homes and businesses were hit with power outages in Louisiana, according to PowerOutage.US. The entire city of New Orleans was in the dark. 

Widespread cell service issues were reported, particularly in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

There were reports of people being trapped in homes. Some levees were breached. Emergency communications lines went out in some spots. Boil water advisories were issued for some communities.

The light of day was bringing the beginning of damage assessments and rescues.  

The hurricane center said Ida could “produce additional rainfall totals of 4 to 8 with localized higher amounts possible across portions of southeast Louisiana into far southern Mississippi. Storm total rainfall accumulations of 10 to 18 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 24 inches is expected.”

Tornados were possible in areas north and east of Ida, forecasters warned.

Ida’s storm surge pushed so much water into the mouth of the Mississippi River that it reversed its flow, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Ricky Boyette told The Associated Press.

One death was blamed on the storm but hospitals already stretched to near breaking points by the COVID-19 pandemic were bracing for an onslaught of new patients.

President Biden approved a disaster declaration for Louisiana.

Ida hit on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina devastating New Orleans. The city’s levees system, which failed during Katrina, has been fortified since then.

Ida’s unrelenting rainfall and storm surge have created “life-threatening” flash flood emergencies in St. John the Baptist Parish and St. Charles Parish, according to the National Weather Service’s New Orleans office.

feature image – screengrab via CBS News