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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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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

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.

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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: 

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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.