Ida live updates: New Orleans evacuees told not to return home until further notice


(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, 3:05 pm
Louisiana damage ‘catastrophic,’ governor says

In a briefing with governors and mayors affected by Hurricane Ida, President Joe Biden vowed full government support.

“We’re there to help you get back on your feet,” Biden said.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he estimated nearly 2 million are without power.

Biden said, “We’re in close contact with local electric providers to see what they need. They are all private providers. We don’t control that, but we’re doing all we can to minimize the amount of time it is going to take to get power back up.”

In the meeting, Edwards touted the success of the levee system, saying none of them were breached. But, he added, “Damage is still catastrophic.”

Edwards said a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew rescued seven patients from a hospital in Lafourche Parish after its roof was ripped off by the powerful winds.

Aug 30, 2:38 pm
At least 1 dead in New Orleans

At least one death has been reported in New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said. Details have not been released.

This brings Ida’s death toll to at least two. A 60-year-old man in Ascension Parish died Sunday when a tree fell on a home, officials said.

At an emotional news conference Monday, Cantrell said the “worse-case scenario” with Ida “did not happen.”

“We did not have another Katrina … we should all be grateful,” she said.

Cantrell said New Orleans has a few collapsed buildings but not widespread destruction.

However, power is out throughout the city, 911 is not available and there are small pockets of standing water from blocked drains. The mayor stressed that residents should shelter in place.

Aug 30, 2:15 pm
Ida’s latest forecast

Ida, one of the strongest hurricanes to make landfall in Louisiana, has dropped 18 inches of rain on parts of the state.

New Orleans has been hit with 13.7 inches of rain.

Numerous flash flood warnings remain in effect across parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.

Ida is expected to weaken to a tropical depression Monday before bringing heavy rain and possible flooding to the Tennessee Valley Monday night through Tuesday.

By Wednesday and Thursday, the storm will hit the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast. The forecast calls for 4 to 6 inches of rain and possible flash flooding.

Aug 30, 1:40 pm
Coast Guard conducting search and rescue flights

The Coast Guard is conducting search and rescue flights across the devastated Gulf Coast.

The Coast Guard is also assessing damage and working to make sure ports can reopen.

President Joe Biden is set to hold a virtual meeting Monday afternoon with FEMA and leaders from areas impacted by Ida.

Aug 30, 1:05 pm

Hospital patients evacuated 

Ida significantly damaged Louisiana’s Ochsner Health system, though neither patients nor employees have been injured, hospital officials said Monday.

About 65 patients at two of Ochsner Health’s facilities have been evacuated, they said. Ochsner Health officials said they’ve also been asked to help evacuate about 100 patients from Terrebonne General Health System in Houma, Louisiana.

Aug 30, 12:45 pm
AT&T wireless at 60% in Louisiana

AT&T said its Louisiana wireless network is operating at 60%.

“We had key network facilities go offline overnight, and while some have already been restored, some facilities remain down and are inaccessible due to flooding and storm damage,” AT&T said in a statement.

Aug 30, 12:24 pm
New Orleans to evacuees: Do not return until further notice

New Orleans residents who evacuated their homes should not return until further notice, the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness said.

“There is widespread debris, power remains out, and emergency services are working to respond to those still in the city,” city officials said. “We will let you know when it is safe to come home.”

If you have evacuated out of #NOLA, we request that you DO NOT RETURN until further notice. There is widespread debris, power remains out, and emergency services are working to respond to those still in the city. We will let you know when it is safe to come home. #Ida

— NOLA Ready (@nolaready) August 30, 2021

Aug 30, 11:32 am
Ida’s latest forecast from South to Northeast

Tropical Storm Ida, now about 40 miles southwest of Jackson, Mississippi, is still bringing flash flood warnings to Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on Monday.

Up to 18 inches of rain has pummeled Louisiana. Up to 9 inches fell in Mississippi.

A tornado watch remains in effect in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

By Tuesday, Ida will move northeast into the Tennessee River Valley.

By Wednesday night into Thursday, Ida will track into the Northeast, dropping up to 6 inches of rain. Major flooding is possible along the Interstate 95 corridor from New York City to Philadelphia.

Aug 30, 10:40 am
New Orleans airport expects all flights to be canceled

The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is conducting damage assessments and said it expects all flights to be canceled Monday.

The airport added that passengers should check directly with their airlines for more information.

Aug 30, 10:29 am
Historic landmark tied to Louis Armstrong collapses

The Karnofsky Tailor Shop, a historic national landmark in New Orleans, is one of the multiple buildings that collapsed when Ida walloped the city.

The brick two-story shop, a former tailor business in the Central Business District of the city, dates back to 1913 and is where Louis Armstrong worked before embarking on his legendary jazz career.

The family that owned the shop provided a second home for Armstrong and loaned him money to purchase his first cornet, according to the National Park Service.

Aug 30, 10:17 am
Governor expects death toll to go up ‘considerably’

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards told MSNBC Monday that search and rescue efforts are ongoing and he expects Ida’s death toll to “go up considerably throughout the day.”

Helicopters are surveying damage because it will take “many days” to reach Louisiana’s southern coastal areas by ground, he said.

Nearly all of southeast Louisiana is without power, the governor said. All eight major lines that feed electricity to the New Orleans area have failed.

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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