Hurricane Ida has already resulted in widespread flooding in parts of Louisiana and Mississippi and power outages that are estimated to potentially last for weeks, as the category four storm made landfall in Louisiana Sunday afternoon and moved toward New Orleans.
Ida made landfall at approximately 12:55 p.m. EDT Sunday with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph, with the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reporting the storm is expected to remain a hurricane through late Sunday night even as it weakens.
Social media and local news footage show widespread flooding, downed trees and some structural damage in parts of Louisiana and coastal Mississippi, including Gulfport, Mississippi, and areas of New Orleans, with officials reporting the island of Grand Isle, Louisiana, already has six feet of flood water in some areas.
Officials reported that emergency officials in Grand Isle—where approximately 40 people stayed despite an evacuation order, including first responders—have already received rescue requests, and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said the area has experienced “tremendous” storm surge and wind damage.
Energy provider Entergy reported more than 380,000 customers across Louisiana were already without power as of 4:15 p.m. EDT, including widespread outages in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, which have not yet received the brunt of the hurricane as it continues to move inland.
The energy outages are also affecting local sewage systems in areas including New Orleans, and city officials have urged residents who still have power to conserve water by not running dishwashers or doing laundry to help avoid sewage backups in homes.
Emergency services in areas including New Orleans and Jefferson Parish have suspended their operations as the storm worsens, with New Orleans officials reporting emergency medical services will resume responding to emergency calls once conditions are safe to do so.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
The storm is only likely to get worse and have bigger impacts on major areas like New Orleans and Baton Rouge as it continues to move inland, with Bel Edwards predicting at a news conference Sunday afternoon the “devastating impacts [will] continue” for at least the next 24 hours. Bel Edwards said a levee storm protection system that guards the New Orleans area is expected to hold despite the storm’s strength, which would help the region to avoid the devastation from storm surge that it experienced during Hurricane Katrina. A number of localities have now imposed curfews overnight because of the storm and its projected impacts, including blocked roads, downed power lines and potential tornadoes. The power outages are likely to last potentially for the next month, with Entergy reporting Sunday morning it expects customers in Ida’s direct path may be out of power for at least three weeks based on its past restoration times for other storms. Dozens of emergency rescue teams are poised to undertake search and rescue operations for storm victims, Bel Edwards reported Sunday, and he predicted recovery operations would likely start early Monday in areas that have suffered significant damage.