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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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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

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

Image:
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.

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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.

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

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