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Aug. 30 Ida updates: Ida a tropical depression, New Orleans still without power

Ida is now a tropical depression and storm activity in Louisiana caused New Orleans to lose power. More tropical storms after Hurricane Ida are possible later this week.

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Ida leaves extensive flooding, damage along Louisiana highway

People in hardest-hit areas of Orleans Parish should plan for extended power outages: utility company

Customers in the areas of Orleans Parish hardest hit by Hurricane Ida should plan for the extended power outages, the power company that serves the region said Tuesday. 

Entergy New Orleans said once the assessment of the hurricane's damage to the power grid is complete, it can start providing estimated restoration times. 

But the company warned that full damage assessment could take days, as many areas are still inaccessible. 

More than a day after Hurricane Ida made landfall, a million people remain without power in Louisiana, including most of New Orleans, according to tracking website 

Death toll from Ida likely to keep rising, Louisiana's lieutenant governor says

The death toll from Hurricane Ida is likely to keep growing, Louisiana's Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser told the "TODAY" show Tuesday. 

"Knowing that so many people stayed behind in places like Grand Isle and Lafitte where flood waters have devastated those areas, we expect there will be more people found that have passed," Nungesser said. “Too many people always ride these storms out and take their lives into their own hands.”

Nungesser said first responders are going from house to house, checking on people's attics for any survivors.

Around 25,000 crews are also working "day and night" to restore power to more than 1 million people who were still without electricity Tuesday morning, Nungesser said. 

“Some areas will come back on in days, some areas will take weeks," he added. 

Comparing Ida's impact to the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina 16 years ago, Nungesser said his "heart sinks" thinking about what the state had to go through to recover. 

“It’s going to be a long road and we are going to need a lot of help," he said. 

'All in this together': New Orleanians reflect on their home after Ida's destruction

In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Ida, New Orleanians spoke with NBC News about the deep and special affection they feel for their Louisiana home. 

Howie Kaplan, owner of The Howlin' Wolf music venue, said he'd been brought to tears early Monday when he and his neighbors wordlessly got to work clearing broken glass from the street, later sharing cold bottles of water.

The moment crystallized his feelings for the city he intends to call home for the rest of his life, Kaplan said.

"When you wake up in New Orleans, you know where you are. You can feel it in your bones. You can feel it in your heart. You feel it in your soul. You hear it," he said. "It's how people interact with you, how people talk to you, how people treat you. We're all in this together."

Read the full story here. 

More than 1M people in Louisiana still without power as crews work to restore grid

Cars pass a mostly dark downtown along Interstate 10 in New Orleans late Monday.
Cars pass a mostly dark downtown along Interstate 10 in New Orleans late Monday.Eric Gay / AP

More than a day after Hurricane Ida made landfall, just over 1 million people, including most of New Orleans, are still without power in Louisiana Tuesday morning, according to tracking website

The city's utility provider, Entergy New Orleans, said Monday it could take days to determine how badly the New Orleans power grid was damaged and even longer to restore power in some areas with thousands of homes and businesses now in the dark. It said some 20,000 crews are working to assess power grid damage across the region.

Officials in Jefferson Parish, one of the worst hit areas in the greater New Orleans area, told NBC News they hoped to have their power restored within 10 days. 

In Ida's wake, experts worry Covid cases will surge

When the sun rose over Louisiana on Monday morning, Hurricane Ida’s destruction was apparent.

What’s happening behind shuttered doors and windows is also concerning to physicians, as many residents are crowded together in shelters or stuck in their homes without immediate access to testing or other medical care. Without a doubt, experts say, Covid-19 is spreading.

Hurricane Ida barreled into Louisiana as the state was battling its biggest surge of Covid-19 to date. The high levels of circulating coronavirus, coupled with the state’s low vaccination rates and the forced close proximity that occurs during a storm, could set the stage for an explosion in cases.

Read the full story here. 

2 people killed in Mississippi highway collapse

Kurt Chirbas

Emergency crews at the scene of a road collapse in George County, Miss., on Tuesday.
Emergency crews at the scene of a road collapse in George County, Miss., on Tuesday. Mississippi Highway Patrol

Two people were killed and 10 others injured after a highway collapsed in George County, southern Mississippi in the wake of Hurricane Ida late Monday. 

Mississippi Highway Patrol Trooper Calvin Robertson told NBC News 7 cars were involved in the collapse of a 50-foot stretch of Highway 26 in Biloxi District, with some cars plunging up to 20 feet deep. 

Robertson said Hurricane Ida was a factor as the area received torrential rains in the past 24 hours.

Three of the people hurt had life-threatening injuries, according to Robertson. The two people who died have not been identified. 

Ida topples New Orleans jazz landmark where Louis Armstrong worked

The Associated Press

Image: Aftermath of Hurricane Ida in New Orleans
The collapsed jazz club the Karnofsky Shop after Hurricane Ida ripped through New Orleans, on Aug. 30, 2021.Mickey Welsh / The Daily Advertiser/USA TODAY Network via Reuters

NEW ORLEANS — A storied New Orleans jazz site where a young Louis Armstrong once worked toppled when Ida blew through Louisiana as one of the most powerful hurricanes to ever hit the U.S.

The Karnofsky Tailor Shop, where a Jewish family employed Armstrong, collapsed Sunday during the storm. Armstrong would play a small tin horn as he worked on the coal and junk wagons, according to the National Park Service.

The business opened downtown in 1913 and had a residence above it where the late jazz legend would often eat meals. The family, who provided Armstrong a “second home,” lent him money to buy his first cornet.

“Louis said it was the Karnofskys that instilled the love of singing in his heart,” jazz historian and retired photojournalist John McCusker said, according to WWL-TV.

Morris Karnofsky, the family’s son and Armstrong’s childhood friend, opened the city’s first jazz record shop on that same street, according to the park service. Armstrong would visit Morris Music when he returned to New Orleans after moving away.

A cluster of other sites that were integral to jazz’s early history in the city were also situated on South Rampart Street.

Authorities investigate apparent alligator attack in Ida floodwaters

A Louisiana man was reported to have been attacked by an alligator and apparently killed Monday in an area that flooded during Hurricane Ida, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office said.

A woman in Slidell, a city on the northeast side of Lake Pontchartrain across from New Orleans, said her 71-year-old husband was walking in floodwaters around noon when he was attacked by a large alligator, the sheriff's office said.

She said she pulled him to safety and then went to get help in a boat, but when she returned, he was not on the front steps, the sheriff's office said.

Slidell fire department public information officer Jason Gaubert said the reported attack happened in an area flooded by the hurricane.

The sheriff's office used boats and high-water vehicles to search for the man but have not found him. It said in a statement that wildlife could have been forced closer to neighborhoods by the storm, and urged people to be cautious. 

No flights to, from New Orleans airport Tuesday

Gov. Edwards to evacuated Louisiana residents: Don't come home yet

The Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards urged evacuees not to try to return home, citing the widespread power outages, road closures and other dangerous conditions.

“There are an awful lot of unknowns right now. There are certainly more questions than answers. I can’t tell you when power is going to be restored. I can’t tell you when all the debris is going to be cleaned up and repairs made and so forth. What I can tell you is we’re going to work hard every single day to deliver as much assistance as we possibly can.”

He noted that cell service is being restored quickly by AT&T and others that suffered outages. He said most of the communication problems experienced in the early hours of the storm and its aftermath have been remedied.

“Right now the overwhelming majority of communications that need to take place are happening.”

More than 800 rescued in St. John Parish

More than 800 people in Louisiana's St. John the Baptist Parish were rescued from floodwaters or moved to safer ground following Hurricane Ida, the parish president said Monday.

Around 18,000 residents in the parish west of New Orleans were without power, Parish President Jaclyn Hotard said.

"We have not received any confirmation of any storm-related deaths, and it's only by the grace of God," she said at a news conference.

Ida was a Category 4 hurricane when it made landfall in southeastern Louisiana on Sunday. Over 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana have lost power, according to, which tracks outages, including most of New Orleans.

There have been two deaths related to the storm. A 60-year-old man was killed after a tree fell on his home in Ascension Parish, and a man drowned while trying to drive through floodwaters in New Orleans, the state health department said.

Mississippi dodges worst of Hurricane Ida, sends help to Louisiana

Image: Hurricane Ida Makes Landfall In Louisiana Leaving Devastation In Its Wake
A man helps a stranded motorist in floodwaters on Beach Blvd. in Biloxi, Miss., on Aug. 30, 2021.Sean Rayford / Getty Images

Relief was felt across Mississippi as daybreak brought a clearer picture of the damage ushered in by battering winds and the drumbeat of heavy rain that blanketed the Mississippi Gulf Coast and surrounding pockets of the state.

Officials and residents agreed that the state was scarred but that it had evaded widespread devastation as Ida moved through Monday as a weakened but still threatening tropical storm.

Gov. Tate Reeves said at a news conference Monday evening that initial damage reports from eight of the state’s 82 counties were “relatively light, considering the magnitude of the storm.”

Reeves said some federal staff members dedicated to Mississippi could be freed up to go to Louisiana, where residents of some of the hardest-hit areas escaped to their roofs to evade rising floodwaters.

Read more here. 

Flood-ravaged Tennessee community braces for Ida remnants

The Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Emergency workers and volunteers in rural Tennessee pushed to clean up as much debris as possible from recent deadly flooding Monday as the remnants of Hurricane Ida threatened to interrupt recovery efforts with another dousing expected overnight through Tuesday.

The Humphreys County Emergency Management Agency noted the possibility of localized flooding in Waverly and other areas hit hard by the deadly Aug. 21 flooding but said it’s “not expected to be the magnitude of last week’s flooding,” citing the National Weather Service.

Authorities are encouraging people to pick up tarps so they can cover their damaged homes and other property. They also said they are watching the forecast and preparing in case the situation becomes dangerous.

The flooding killed 20 people as it took out houses, roads, cellphone towers and telephone lines, with rain totals that more than tripled forecasts and shattered the state record for one-day rainfall. More than 270 homes were destroyed and 160 took major damage, according to the Humphreys County Emergency Management Agency.

Much of that destruction centered on Waverly, a small city about 60 miles west of Nashville. The town of McEwen near Waverly was pummeled with 17 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

Nurses cared for NICU babies overnight in New Orleans as hurricane hit

Students hit by Ida turn to TikTok to share their experiences


Reply to @daniasaurous the hurricane looks like it’s changed courses to go more west!!! ##lsu ##hurricaneida ##lsucamellia

♬ original sound - Adrianne Bajon

The dorms at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge had mostly emptied by Sunday afternoon as Hurricane Ida roared through the state.

But freshman Adrianne Bajon, 18, and a small group of friends, unable to evacuate because of a lack of gasoline, stayed behind. As they hunkered down, the small group of about seven students played Uno, watched "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" and documented everything they could on TikTok.

The videos posted by Bajon, a computer science and software engineering major, racked up millions of views.

Read more here. 

Ida now a tropical depression, moving over Mississippi

Ida on Monday officially became a tropical depression over Mississippi, meaning the storm's winds dropped below 38 miles per hour.

It came ashore Sunday in Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane.

The storm's sustained wind speed dropped from a peak of 150 mph on Sunday to 35 mph on Monday afternoon.

‘The damage is catastrophic’: Residents in LaPlace, Louisiana, share Ida’s impact

As Hurricane Ida battered Louisiana on Sunday night, Daryian Hudson made a desperate plea on Twitter.

"Please help me yall," she tweeted publicly at 11:07 p.m., along with the address of her grandparents, Evelina and Elliott Leblanc, whom, she said, were stuck in their attic in LaPlace, along the east bank of the Mississippi River. The couple are in their 70s and live with their puppy.

Hudson explained in a series of tweets from Houston, where she lives, that she and her family had contacted the Cajun Navy, volunteer boat owners who aid in disaster relief, but were told that because all of LaPlace was flooded, a team could not be sent to her grandparents until Monday morning.

Read more here. 

Hurricane Ida victims could swamp Louisiana's already Covid-stretched hospitals

First responders drive a high water vehicle through flooded streets while rescuing residents from floodwater left behind by Hurricane Ida in LaPlace, La., on Aug. 30, 2021.
First responders drive a high water vehicle through flooded streets while rescuing residents from floodwater left behind by Hurricane Ida in LaPlace, La., on Aug. 30, 2021.Luke Sharrett / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Louisiana’s battered hospitals were bracing for another challenge Monday in the wake of Hurricane Ida — an influx of new patients.

And with services already stretched to capacity by the Covid-19 crisis, the still unanswered question was where to put them.

Gov. John Bel Edwards told MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle that he is prioritizing “shoring up our hospitals so they can continue to serve all of their patients and the people who have been injured and haven't been able to get to the hospital yet because of something that happened during the storm.”

So far, Edwards said, there has been just one hurricane-related fatality but that number is likely to go up after the damage assessment gets underway.

Read more here. 

Mississippi governor warns of tornadoes, excessive heat as Ida departs state

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said on Monday that tens of thousands of the state's residents are without power and a coastal highway is mostly closed as Ida continues to move over the state.

Reeves warned a heat advisory is likely for Tuesday and warned the 85,900 people still without power to be ready for sweltering conditions.

"It is going to be hot in Mississippi tomorrow," Reeves said.

There is also a high risk of tornadoes in the southeastern counties of Mississippi, Reeves said, and the threat would persist through the night.

"So far, damage estimates are relatively light — very light considering the magnitude of the storm," Reeves said.

2nd storm related death confirmed in Louisiana

The Louisiana Department of Health announced a second death as the result of Ida, saying on Monday that a man drowned in his car while trying to drive through floodwaters in New Orleans.

The first storm-related death was a 60-year-old man who died in Ascension Parish when a tree fell on his home.

4th Louisiana hospital being evacuated due to Ida damage

Image: New Orleans water rescue
Members of the Louisiana State Fire Marshal's office rescue people from floodwaters in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in New Orleans, La., on Aug. 30, 2021.Gerald Herbert / AP

A fourth Louisiana hospital is being evacuated on Monday night due to power outrages and storm damage, officials said.

Patients from Terrebonne General Hospital are being moved, Gov. John Bel Edwards said, following in the foot steps of Chabert Medical Center in Houma, St. Anne Hospital in Raceland and Our Lady of the Sea General Hospital in Galliano.

The evacuations are "due to physical damage and to water and electric issues," Gov. Edwards said.

Map: Hurricane Ida, hour by hour

Hurricane Ida started Sunday in the Gulf of Mexico and ended its day carving a path north through Louisiana toward Mississippi. 

In between, it reached sustained wind speeds of 150 mph, battered coastal and inland towns, and stayed powerful after landfall much longer than most hurricanes.

Video from Jefferson Parish government shows extensive flooding in Louisiana

Experts say Ida will have limited impact on gas prices

Martha C. White

Image: The Kobe Chouest platform supply vessel sits anchored next to the Chevron Corp. Jack/St. Malo deepwater oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico on May 18, 2018.
The Kobe Chouest platform supply vessel sits anchored next to the Chevron Corp. Jack/St. Malo deepwater oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico on May 18, 2018.Luke Sharrett / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

While energy analysts predict that drivers will see moderately higher gas prices in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Ida, the increases will pale in comparison to the spike that occurred in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on New Orleans and the surrounding areas.

Energy experts were hesitant to say for sure how much of an impact American drivers might face at the gas pump after Ida's landfall on Sunday, but early estimates suggested that the impact would be modest for most of the country.

After Hurricane Katrina, gas prices jumped roughly 45 cents in six days, according to the AAA. They began to fall after that, but it still took nearly two months before returning to pre-Katrina levels. “Gas prices can spike overnight, and then it just takes a while for them to come down,” said Jeanette Casselano, a AAA spokeswoman.

Based on the strength of Hurricane Ida, Casselano suggested that drivers could see elevated prices for a few weeks. “In the coming days, we’ll likely see the national average increase three to five cents,” she said.

Read more here.

Too soon to tell when power will be restored in New Orleans, utility CEO says

A woman looks over damage caused by Hurricane Ida on Aug. 30, 2021, in Kenner, La.
A woman looks over damage caused by Hurricane Ida on Aug. 30, 2021, in Kenner, La.Scott Olson / Getty Images

It could take days to determine how badly the New Orleans power grid was damaged by Hurricane Ida and even longer to restore power in some areas with thousands of homes and businesses now in the dark, as work crews begin the task of assessing damage across the region.

There were 888,000 power outages in New Orleans and the surrounding area Monday morning, Entergy New Orleans CEO Deanna Rodriguez said at a news conference Monday afternoon.

The utility company said in a statement earlier Monday that it "may take up to three days before we know how long until power will be restored" and "those in the hardest-hit areas could experience power outages for weeks."

Read more here.

About 200,000 New Orleans residents stayed in city during Hurricane Ida, mayor says

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell urged residents who have evacuated the city to stay where they are as officials begin the process of assessing the damage caused by Hurricane Ida. 

"Now is not the time for re-entry," Cantrell said Monday at a news conference. “Today is going to be a day for assessments across the board. We are only at the beginning of that process."

"We will notify you as soon as possible when it's safe for you to come," the mayor added.

Cantrell said there are about 200,000 residents who stayed in the city. She did not have an exact number of evacuees but told reporters a "large amount" of people did leave the city.

Much of New Orleans remains without power. The mayor said one of the reasons they do not want people to come back yet is because of the lack of electricity available. She urged residents and businesses with generators to help out those in need. 

"I'm calling all of our people and businesses that have the capacity in the city to be good neighbors as I know you will be," she said. "For the businesses that we know, or they know, have the capacity to provide some source of power to the community, we ask for you to notify the city and again be good neighbors." 



Tornado touches down in Alabama in wake of Ida

The National Weather Service told people near the east side of Creola, Alabama, on Monday to "take cover" as a confirmed tornado headed in their direction. 

The NWS later confirmed at least one tornado touched down near Saraland, Satsuma and Chickasaw.

Parts of Mississippi and Florida were also under tornado watches and warnings Monday

Biden meets with FEMA officials, governors for storm update

President Joe Biden said his administration is doing everything it can to get help to those affected by Hurricane Ida as he met virtually Monday with state and local officials from Louisiana and Mississippi. 

“We are providing any help you are going to need,” Biden said.

The president said he is putting senior White House advisor Cedric Richmond, a former congressman from Louisiana, in charge of the White House’s response. Biden told the governors and mayors to reach out to Richmond for anything they need. 

The governors warned Biden of catastrophic destruction. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, told Biden the number of people without power could be close to 2 million and that power was being prioritized to keep the hospitals running. 

“This is going to be a long haul,” Edwards told Biden.

Man confronts NBC reporter Shaquille Brewster on live TV during Ida coverage

An irate man confronted NBC News' Shaquille Brewster on live television Monday as the correspondent was reporting on Tropical Storm Ida in coastal Mississippi.

Brewster was doing a live MSNBC shot from Gulfport when a white pickup truck could be seen pulling up behind him as a man jumped out and sprinted toward the reporter.

Moments later, the man got in Brewster's face before the correspondent calmly ended the report. The man could be heard shouting at Brewster to "report accurately."

"Hey, hey, hey," concerned anchor Craig Melvin said. "We're going to check in with Shaq Brewster just to make sure all is well. There's a lot of crazy out there, a lot of crazy."

Moments later, Brewster tweeted that he was OK and Melvin also told viewers the correspondent wasn't hurt.  

“You probably saw or heard a few moments ago, one of our correspondents was disrupted by some wacky guy during his live shot there in Mississippi,” Melvin said. “Pleased to report that Shaquille Brewster is doing just fine. Shaq is OK."

Graphic: The Atlantic is seeing more major hurricanes

There have been more major hurricanes in the Atlantic in recent years, but whether this is part of what experts say is a global trend toward stronger storms is difficult to say.

"[Major hurricanes in the Atlantic are] such a rare event that the statistics are limited," said Michael Bell, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

There have been an average of four major Atlantic hurricanes per season from 2016 to 2020, up from an average of two per season from 2011 to 2015. Looking at hurricanes since 2010 the average sits at about three major storms per year. 

A major hurricane is one with sustained wind speeds of 111 mph and stronger.

Ida is the second major hurricane of the season so far, with the season normally picking up in intensity in late August, Bell said.

"We’re really getting going right now."

More than 5,000 National Guard members sent to Louisiana and Mississippi in wake of Hurricane Ida

More than 5,000 National Guard members from four states have been sent to assist in New Orleans and Mississippi in the wake of Hurricane Ida’s destructive path, federal officials said.

The bulk of the Guard members, about 5,000, were from the Louisiana National Guard, according to a statement from the Army National Guard.

Guard members will help ensure continuity of government rescue and relief operations, officials said. About 300 additional Guard members are from Mississippi, Alabama and Texas, authorities said.

In addition to Guard members, 195 high-water vehicles and 73 rescue boats were staged across southern Louisiana, the National Guard said. Thirty-four helicopters were available for rescue, evacuation and reconnaissance purposes, according to the Guard.

Hurricane Ida made landfall Sunday in Louisiana, dumping rain and causing flooding throughout the region. In total, more than 1 million homes and business lost power. Another 100,000 lost power in Mississippi.

Ida weakened to a tropical storm Monday and was moving through Mississippi knocking down trees and power lines.

Photos show flooding and destruction from Hurricane Ida

Dartanian Stovall looks at the house that collapsed with him inside during the height of Hurricane Ida in New Orleans on Monday. Stovall was inside the house he was renovating when he said the chimney collapsed and the rest of the house followed. He managed to crawl to safety. "At least I'm alive," he said.Michael DeMocker / The Tennessean via USA Today Network
Image: Aftermath of Hurricane Ida in Louisiana
Highway 51 is flooded after Hurricane Ida struck LaPlace, La., on Monday.Mickey Welsh / Montgomery Advertiser/USA Today Network via Reuters
Image: Firefighters assess damage on Monday as they look through debris from a collapsed building in New Orleans.
Firefighters assess damage on Monday as they look through debris from a collapsed building in New Orleans.Eric Gay / AP
Image: A section of roof that was blown off of a building in the French Quarter by Hurricane Ida winds blocks an intersection in New Orleans on Monday.
A section of roof that was blown off of a building in the French Quarter by Hurricane Ida winds blocks an intersection in New Orleans on Monday.Eric Gay / AP
Image: A tree lies on a house in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in New Orleans on Monday.
A tree lies on a house in New Orleans on Monday.Michael DeMocker / The Tennessean via USA Today Network
Image: A man helps a stranded motorist in floodwaters in Biloxi, Miss., on Monday.
A man helps a stranded motorist in floodwaters in Biloxi, Miss., on Monday.Sean Rayford / Getty Images

Al Roker says 'screw you' to those claiming he's too old to report in storm

Al Roker says he's not too old to cover severe weather. 

The 67-year-old was trending on Twitter on Sunday as many asked why he was out in the middle of the Category 4 Hurricane Ida as it battered Louisiana. 

"Get 67-year-old Al Roker out of the hurricane," wrote one person after viewing the TV hit in which Roker stayed standing in heavy winds and a barrage of water that soaked his entire body.

But Roker said later on MSNBC that he volunteered to cover the storm from New Orleans. "This is what I do," said the meteorologist. "I've done this for 40 years." 

"We all make sure we’re safe — we’re not going to do something that’s going to put ourselves in harm's way," Roker said. "As much as I love the weather and I love NBC, not going to risk my life for it." 

To those saying, "Well, he's too old to be doing this," Roker said, "Well guess what, screw you and try to keep up, keep up OK?"

"These young punks, I will go after them, I will drop them like a bag of dirt," he joked. 

Tropical Storm Ida turns toward western and central Mississippi

Tropical Storm Ida finally departed southeast Louisiana on Monday and began making its way through neighboring Mississippi, forecasters said.

The storm's center was about 40 miles southwest of Jackson, Mississippi, at 10 a.m. CDT, as it moves "inland over western and central Mississippi this afternoon," according to the National Hurricane Center.

Downed trees and power lines have already been reported near Jackson on Monday.

Ida is a on northeast path, headed toward the middle Tennessee and Ohio valleys, dropping heavy rain and potential flash floods in its wake.

New Orleans firefighters assess damage as they look through debris after a building collapsed from the effects of Hurricane Ida on Aug. 30, 2021.
New Orleans firefighters assess damage as they look through debris after a building collapsed from the effects of Hurricane Ida on Aug. 30, 2021.Eric Gay / AP

Ida is another blow to Louisiana hospitals already strained by Covid

In the years since Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana has taken steps to shore up its defenses against natural disasters. But many hospitals and medical centers probably did not anticipate they would need to deal with a severe storm on top of a devastating pandemic.

Louisiana hospitals that are already packed with Covid-19 patients were preparing Monday for a wave of hurricane victims, straining resources and putting new burdens on healthcare providers who have been pushed to the limit by the coronavirus crisis.

In an interview Monday with MSNBC, Dr. Kavita Patel — a primary care physician in Washington and a scholar at the Brookings Institution — said Louisiana hospital staffers will be forced to care for patients amid extraordinary difficulties.

"You're doing this through an active tropical storm where you have power out for millions ... so this is going to be a challenge in the coming weeks" said Patel, an MSNBC contributor.

In normal times, New Orleans hospitals would evacuate critical patients to facilities in other states, such as Texas. But in the era of Covid-19, most hospitals in the region are nearly at full capacity. Louisiana has seen more than 679,000 confirmed cases and more than 12,000 Covid-related deaths as of this week.

Patel said that the number of Covid infections in Louisiana could rise in the coming days as people shelter in close quarters inside amphitheaters and other large indoor spaces, raising the risk of a "superspreader" event.

However, Patel added, "we know so much more about how to contain this" virus than we did in the early days of the pandemic. It will be incumbent on locals to wear masks, get tested and make sure symptomatic people are isolated, she said.

Mayor of second-largest Mississippi city says area is in 'really good shape'

The mayor of the second-largest city in Mississippi said Monday morning that his area is in "really good shape" compared to the hard-hit New Orleans, adding that local officials have not seen "any emergency situations that we are exceedingly concerned about" in hospitals and shelters.

"We were fortunate in the fact that the storm surge, while it came in, it did not manifest to the degree we feared it might, and that is probably going to be the difference in a huge way," said Billy Hewes, the mayor of Gulfport, Mississippi, in an interview with MSNBC.

“We are looking at making sure things are in good shape here, telling folks to stay out of low-lying areas still, wait for the all-clear signal, and then try to figure out what we can do to pay it forward and help the folks in Louisiana,” Hewes added.

Hewes said his "most severe concern" was the risk of flash flooding in Gulfport, which has a total population of nearly 70,000 people.

Re-entry efforts into Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, delayed for at least a week

Re-entry efforts into Lafourche Parish could be delayed for at least a week as crews and first responders assess the damage caused by Hurricane Ida, the parish said in an announcement

"Lafourche Parish roads are currently unpassable and will be for some time," officials said. "First responders will be working around the clock to clear the road for residents to return. ... Local officials are asking all residents to wait for the all-clear before returning."

Parish president Archie Chaisson said in a news conference Sunday night officials are working to clear the roads to deal with downed power lines. 

"It's going to take us a while to pick up the pieces. I'm committed to fixing it. I'm committed to building Lafourche better," he said. "God has always taken care of us and God will continue to take care of us." 

The parish, which has a population of nearly 98,000, is under a boil water advisory with most residents south of Raceland being without water due to a mainline break. 

Some good news: A levee that officials thought had failed now appears to be intact

Kurt Chirbas

Elizabeth Chuck and Kurt Chirbas

A levee in Alliance, Louisiana, that officials had said had failed early Monday morning now appears to be intact.

In a Facebook post overnight, the Plaquemines Parish government had urged residents to "evacuate the area immediately" due to a failure near Highway 23 in Alliance, which is about 20 miles away from New Orleans. Residents were told to go to a local auditorium if they were in need of shelter.

Later Monday morning, Lt. Chaun Domingue, the public information officer with the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office, clarified to NBC News that it had been determined that there had been no failure to the levee. Instead, a temporary levee built by a local refinery had been breached. 

Officials had gone door-to-door to urge residents to evacuate as a precaution nonetheless, Domingue said.

"We are currently assessing the situation to assure there wasn't any breach to the permanent levee system," he added. "At this point, residences affected by this storm surge is minimal, but we are still monitoring the situation as winds from Hurricane Ida are still pushing water into the Myrtle Grove area."

4 possible storms across the Atlantic monitored by hurricane center

The National Hurricane Center is keeping its eye on four possible storms in the Atlantic, including a tropical depression that will likely become Tropical Storm Kate later in the week. 

Forecasters said the tropical depression does not pose a threat to land. The hurricane center said in its 5 a.m. update that the depression has made little change in intensity and is located about 775 miles from the Leeward Islands.

The center is also monitoring the southern Caribbean Sea for a slow development possible by the end of the week. Forecasters are also watching the coast of Africa because a tropical depression could likely develop within the next few days.

Cajun Navy helping with rescues in Louisiana

The Cajun Navy, a group of volunteer Louisiana boat owners, has at least 20 people out searching for a growing list of residents stranded after Hurricane Ida. 

Jordy Bloodsworth, a lieutenant in the group, said the volunteers are searching in a dozen or more boats “and then one of the beautiful things about Louisiana, we put out a call for help or if we need more help, it shows up, and it shows up pretty quick.”

Bloodsworth said that in LaPlace the group has heard from some 30 addresses, with up to nine people inside waiting to be rescued.

“I’m sure there’s plenty more,” he said.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said the state has deployed more than 1,600 crews conducting search and rescue efforts.

Hurricane Ida hit Port Fourchon with wind gusts up to 172 mph

Hurricane Ida made landfall Sunday morning on Port Fourchon, Louisiana, as a powerful Category 4 storm with winds of 150 mph — making it one of the fifth strongest landfalls in U.S. history. 

The hurricane's wind gusts were even stronger at 172 mph in Port Fourchon. Other areas were also hit with intense wind gusts. Grand Isle saw gusts of 146 mph while Dulac experienced 138 mph gusts. Galliano was hit with 122 mph gusts and New Orleans with 87 mph. 

Ida's strength tied it as the fifth strongest landfall in the country's history. It is also one of the strongest hurricanes to hit Louisiana, behind 2020's Hurricane Laura and the Last Island Hurricane of 1856. 

Louisiana also became the first state to endure hurricanes with winds of at least 150 mph in back-to-back years. Hurricane Laura was a Category 4 with wind speeds of 150 mph when it struck the state last year. 

After battering Louisiana, Ida moved on toward Mississippi. The National Hurricane Center said Ida, now a tropical storm with sustained winds of 45 mph, is located about 65 miles southwest of Jackson, according to its 8 a.m. Monday update. 

The storm is expected to make a faster northeastward motion tonight and into Tuesday. Ida is expected to move over central and northeastern Mississippi Monday afternoon and evening before it moves across the Tennessee Valley on Tuesday. By Wednesday, it will move through the Appalachians, Mid-Atlantic region and the Northeast.

Flash flooding is expected in the coming days, according to forecasters. More than 50 million people are currently under a flash flood watch stretching from the Gulf Coast up to northern New Jersey. 


FEMA administrator: 'This is going to be a really long recovery'

Ida caused widespread damage, more than federal officials anticipated, and it will take a significant amount of time to recover, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Monday.

"Not only was this a Category 4 storm, but it stayed a Category 4 storm for hours over southern parts of Louisiana," FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" a day after Ida, now a tropical storm, slammed into the state. 

She said her teams on the ground were reporting structural damage and possibly building collapses in various areas.

"Having those high winds for several hours, that storm surge for several hours, as well as the intense rainfall, and I think as we get up this morning, we're hearing reports, but we're going to see even more destruction," she added. "This is going to be a really long recovery."

She said that "there have also been some reports of people calling 911 for assistance getting out of their threatened area."

"It's going to be significant, and these are only the initial reports," Criswell said. "We're going to see more as soon as we get the assessment teams out there this morning."

'Please remain where you are,' Louisiana governor warns

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards urged people to be aware of the many hazards left across the state in Hurricane Ida's wake as daylight started to reveal the scale of destruction, including flooded roadways, debris and downed power lines. 

"Follow the instructions of local officials & continue to be safe," he cautioned. 

911 knocked out in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish

The 911 systems in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish were not working properly Monday morning, officials said. 

Orleans Parish Communication District-OPCD announced at about 3 a.m. that 911 was "experiencing technical difficulties." Residents were told to "go to your nearest fire station or approach your nearest officer" in the event of an emergency.

In Jefferson Parish, which was also "currently having difficulties routing calls to 911," residents were told to stay put since 'unnecessary travel is dangerous given the current roadway conditions," according to the sheriff's office. People who need police were told to call 504-227-1400. 

Jefferson Parish president: 'We have almost 200-250 requests for rescue'

President of Louisiana's Jefferson Parish, which was battered by Hurricane Ida, says rescue teams are out attending to as many as 250 rescue calls.

"They have been really all night anxious to get out when there is first light," Cynthia Lee Sheng told the "TODAY" show.

“I know it's been a very, very long night for those people," she said. 

Watch the rest of the interview here: 

Parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Florida under tornado watches

The National Weather Service warned Monday that people in southeast Mississippi, southwest Alabama, and the western Florida Panhandle could expect tornados. 

Ida, which had weakened to a tropical storm, was moving over southeastern Louisiana Monday. The storm was forecast to turn toward southwestern Mississippi later in the morning, and then predicted to move through central and northeastern Mississippi later in the day, before hitting the Tennessee Valley on Tuesday.

Flash flood emergency warning continues for Hammond, Ponchatoula and Natalbany

The National Weather Service has continued a flash flood emergency for Hammond, Ponchatoula and Natalbany communities, north of New Orleans, in Louisiana until at least 10 a.m. E.T.

The service warned of a "life-threatening situation" and urged residents to move to higher ground immediately. 

Lafitte-area levees overtopped, not damaged, local official says

The levees in the area of Lafitte, 20 miles south of New Orleans, did not breach as Hurricane Ida hit overnight despite earlier reports, the Jefferson Parish president said. 

Cynthia Lee Sheng told the "TODAY" show Monday the levees were overtopped, but did not fail. It was earlier reported by the National Weather Service that the levees in the area may have breached, putting over 200 people in "imminent danger.” 

"There was no structural failure of the levees, it's just that the water was higher than the levee that was built," Sheng said. 

Levee failure in Alliance, Louisiana prompts evacuations

Kurt Chirbas

Residents have been urged to evacuate after a levee failure in Alliance, about 20 miles southeast of New Orleans.

Plaquemines Parish government urged people to evacuate the area immediately in a Facebook post late Sunday. Residents were told to go to a local auditorium if they need shelter. 

Around the same time, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency warning for the area, warning of a "life-threatening flash flooding from a levee failure." 

Ida downgraded to tropical storm

The National Hurricane Center has downgraded Ida to a tropical storm.

The center said maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 60 mph, with the storm now over southwestern Mississippi.

Ida made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane Sunday with winds of near 150 mph.

It is expected to continue rapidly weakening during the next day or so, the center added. It's expected to become a tropical depression by Monday evening. 

Despite the downgrade, the center warned that dangerous storm surge, damaging winds and flash flooding will continue over portions of southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi. 

Read the latest here.

Follow Ida's path

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