Hurricane Ida, one of the most powerful storms to hit the United States, has killed one person in Louisiana and knocked out electricity in the state's New Orleans city. Several coastal communities have been inundated amid warnings of flash floods due to high-speed winds and heavy rainfall. Hurricane Ida moved into Mississippi on Monday, a day after making landfall along the southeastern Louisiana coast as a Category 4 storm. A total of more than 1 million customers in Louisiana and another 40,000 were without power in Mississippi, according to PowerOutage.US, which monitors outages nationwide.
Deputies with the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office confirmed the death of an unidentified person due to a tree that fell at a home in Prairieville outside Baton Rouge.
Thousands of of people have been left to deal with the sweltering summer heat of New Orleans without air conditioning and refrigeration. The city has become more vulnerable to flooding with the rising ocean swamping the barrier island of Grand Isle and winds blowing off roofs on buildings around Port Fourchon on Sunday. More than 2 million people living in and around New Orleans and Baton Rouge are under threat.
In Baton Rouge, 27-year-old Robert Owens, said he had never "encountered something this major" in his life as he saw transformers in the neighbourhood blowing up due to the gusts that also rattled the windows of his home.
Several trees had also collapsed on properties of Owens' neighbours. In LaPlace, a community adjacent to Lake Pontchartrain, many people took to social media, pleading for boat rescues amid flooding on late Sunday night.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said rescue crews would not be able to immediately help those who were stranded.
“Many, many people are going to be tested in ways that we can only imagine today,” the governor said.
Entergy, New Orleans power supplier, confirmed that the only power in the city was coming from generators, the city’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness said on Twitter in a message which also included a screenshot that cited “catastrophic transmission damage."
The Coast Guard received more than a dozen reports of breakaway barges in Lake Pontchartrain. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality said it was ready to deal with any reported pollution leaks or petroleum spills from the more than 1,500 oil refineries, chemical plants, and other facilities.
Hospitals, already stretched to the limit because of a surge in COVID-19 cases, are also bracing for the impact of Hurricane Ida.
(With Inputs from Associated Press)