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Hurricane Ida death toll rises to 6 and could continue to rise: Live updates

Ida is responsible for 6 deaths and the toll is likely to rise. Power is still out for nearly 1 million homes in Louisiana and flooding is complicating rescue efforts.
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Hurricane Ida death toll rises to 6

344d ago / 9:38 AM UTC

The death toll from Hurricane Ida rose to six on Wednesday after officials confirmed the deaths of two electrical workers in Alabama who were repairing power grid damage caused by the storm.  

James Banner, Senior Vice President at Pike Electric, confirmed to NBC News that two of the company's electrical workers were killed Tuesday morning while on the job in the community of Adger in Jefferson County.  

The area was lashed by the wind and rain caused by the storm on Monday.

Searing heat puts extra strain on region impacted by storm

344d ago / 9:27 AM UTC

Punishing heat in areas hardest hit by Hurricane Ida continues to pose a challenge for recovery efforts, with nearly 1 million people still without power in Louisiana.

The National Weather Service continued a heat advisory for dozens of communities in southeast Louisiana, as well as southeast and southern Mississippi Wednesday, warning of temperatures that could feel as high as 108 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The advisory includes New Orleans that lost all of its power during the storm. 

Some areas in the Greater New Orleans have opened cooling centers allowing residents to seek respite from the extreme heat as they continue recovering from the storm. 

The city of New Orleans is also using its transit buses as cooling sites. 

How 'rapid intensification' fueled Hurricane Ida

344d ago / 8:16 AM UTC

Long before Hurricane Ida made landfall Sunday in southern Louisiana, climatologist David Keellings was already filled with dread.

As the storm passed over the western end of Cuba and moved over the Gulf of Mexico, Keellings, an assistant professor at the University of Florida, knew it would become fierce and unruly.

"I was saying, 'Uh oh, it’s going to head over some really warm water,'" he said. "And it did."

Once the storm began churning up the Gulf's unusually warm water — 86 degrees at places, even at depths of more than 100 feet — things escalated quickly. Over the next 24 hours, the hurricane underwent a process known as rapid intensification, growing from a Category 1 to a Category 4 storm only shortly before it roared over the coastline.

Read the full story here. 

345d ago / 1:42 AM UTC

Power may start coming back to New Orleans on Wednesday, mayor says

345d ago / 1:00 AM UTC

Two days after Hurricane Ida struck Louisiana, leaving hundreds of thousands of customers without power, the mayor of New Orleans said Tuesday that some power might be restored to the city beginning Wednesday.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell said there should be "some level of transmission" to New Orleans late Wednesday, but she cautioned that while the news meant "significant progress" was being made, it did not mean residents could expect the lights to immediately come on across the city.

"The first step is transmission, and there's been significant progress as it relates to that. The next step will be focusing on distribution lines. So we're getting closer. And it could mean we could see some level of electricity or light in the city come tomorrow night," she said. "But, again, the expectation should not be, because it's not a real one, that the entire city would be lit on tomorrow evening."

Read more here

New Orleans mayor issues nighttime curfew in effort to curb crime in powerless city

345d ago / 11:19 PM UTC
Image: New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, U.S Conference of Mayors 88th Winter Meeting
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, speaks during the U.S Conference of Mayors 88th Winter Meeting at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23, 2020.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images file

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell ordered a nighttime curfew Tuesday, calling it an effort to prevent crime after Hurricane Ida devastated the power system and left the city in darkness. Police Chief Shaun Ferguson said there had been some arrests for stealing.

The mayor also said she expects the main power company Entergy to be able to provide some electricity to the city by Wednesday evening, but stressed that doesn’t mean a quick citywide restoration. Entergy was looking at two options to “begin powering critical infrastructure in the area such as hospitals, nursing homes and first responders,” the company said in a news release.

Cantrell acknowledged frustration in the days ahead.

“We know it’s hot. We know we do not have any power, and that continues to be a priority,” she told a news conference.

Bonaroo Music & Arts festival canceled after Ida soaks Tennessee

345d ago / 10:20 PM UTC
Image: 2018 Bonnaroo Arts And Music Festival - What Stage - Day 2
Attendees watch Taylor York, Hayley Williams, and Zac Farr of Paramore perform on day 2 of the 2018 Bonnaroo Arts And Music Festival in Manchester, Tenn., on June 8, 2018.Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic for Bonnaroo Arts And Music Festival file

The Bonaroo Music & Arts Festival was canceled Tuesday because of extreme rain caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida.

"While this weekend’s weather looks outstanding, currently Centeroo is waterlogged in many areas, the ground is incredibly saturated on our tollbooth paths, and the campgrounds are flooded to the point that we are unable to drive in or park vehicles safely," the festival announced on social media.

Centeroo, the central area of the festival grounds, is the site of Bonnaroo's main stages.

Organizers wrote they did "everything in our power to try to keep the show moving forward, but Mother Nature has dealt us a tremendous amount of rain over the past 24 hours, and we have run out of options to try to make the event happen."

Most of central and eastern Tennessee was under a flash flood warning on Tuesday evening, according to the National Weather Service, as now-Tropical Storm Ida passed over the state.

Bonnaroo organizers said ticket holders would be refunded "in as little as 30 days."

Arrest warrant issued for Ohio man who allegedly confronted NBC's Shaquille Brewster on live TV

345d ago / 9:56 PM UTC

Mississippi police on Tuesday issued an arrest warrant for an Ohio man who they say confronted NBC News' Shaquille Brewster on live television.

Benjamin Eugene Dagley, who is from Wooster, Ohio, will be charged with two counts of simple assault, one count of disturbing the peace and one count of violating an emergency curfew, according to a statement from Gulfport police.

He could also be in violation of his probation out of Cuyahoga County, Ohio for allegedly traveling without authorization, police said.

Read more here. 

West Virginia declares Ida state of emergency, warns of flash floods and severe storms

345d ago / 9:27 PM UTC

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice on Tuesday declared a state of emergency ahead of the arrival of Tropical Depression Ida, citing the increased threat of flash floods and severe storms.

“All West Virginians need to absolutely be ready for the potential impact Ida may bring to our state,” Justice said. “West Virginians should pay extra close attention to emergency officials and media outlets. And please: do not endanger yourselves, your loved ones, or our first responders by trying to drive through flood waters.”

The state could see 2 to 4 inches of rain on Wednesday, Justice's office says, with areas that could see up to 6 inches. Heavy rainfall over the past two weeks from Tropical Storm Fred have already primed soils and rivers for flooding.

Tropical Depression Ida coming soon to western half of North Carolina

and

345d ago / 7:55 PM UTC

The western half of North Carolina braced itself for Tropical Depression Ida on Tuesday afternoon, as the system made its way through the Tennessee Valley, bringing heavy rain and threats of flooding.

Officials in Haywood County declared a state of emergency and  "encouraged and advised" its residents, especially those living near the Pigeon River, to evacuate to shelters it has established.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the region that'll remain through 2 p.m. EDT Wednesday.

Image: Tropical depression Ida on Aug. 31. 2021.
Tropical Storm Ida on Aug. 31. 2021. Haywood County, N.C. is recommending voluntary evacuations as Tropical Storm Ida approaches.NOAA

Louisiana governor tells evacuees not to come home until state is safe

345d ago / 6:38 PM UTC

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards cautioned residents who fled the state amid Hurricane Ida to stay away until officials with the state’s Homeland Security & Emergency Management office say it’s safe to return.

“Many of the life-supporting infrastructure elements are not present. They’re not operating right now,” he told reporters. “The schools are not open. The businesses are not open. The hospitals are slammed. There’s not water in your home and there’s not gonna be electricity. So let’s get you where you can be safe and somewhat comfortable and if you need a hospital we can get you to a hospital. Please don’t come home before they tell you that it’s time.”

Ida has killed at least four people — two in Louisiana and two in Mississippi — and left more than 1 million Louisiana homes without power since touching down on Sunday with strong winds and rainfall. Thousands of people evacuated the state ahead of the storm, and Edwards warned that most deaths and injuries are likely to occur in the aftermath of the disaster. 

He said people who return prematurely could face injury or death from carbon monoxide poisoning from generators; deep, fast moving waters; heat exhaustion; and falling from roofs. 

It could take days to determine how badly Ida damaged the state’s power grid, and even longer to begin restoring electricity, power authorities said.

Drone footage shows devastation in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana

345d ago / 5:54 PM UTC
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Drone footage captured the devastation left behind by Hurricane Ida in Lafourche Parish, just south of New Orleans, where evacuated residents were told they could return on Tuesday, officials said.

They'll need to show proof of residency to pass through check points starting at noon CDT and then have to obey a 7 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew, Lafourche Parish announced.

The drone footage showed trees snapped like twigs, power poles bent at severe angles, washed out highways, submerged cars and even a power boat in the middle of the road. And even some commercial structures — with roofs and support beams still standing — had their interiors completely gutted by the storm.

Residents of St. Charles Parish told they will be without power for at least a month

345d ago / 4:52 PM UTC

St. Charles Parish, Louisiana, could be without electricity for at least a month following the destruction caused by Hurricane Ida, local leaders said Tuesday morning. 

"Residents should prepare to be without power for at least a month. If you are using a generator, use best practices such as turning it off before refueling and keeping it outside," a press release on the parish's government website said, adding that residents should stay off the roads due to downed trees and power lines.

The parish, located about 10 miles outside of New Orleans, was under a mandatory evacuation during Sunday's storm. Parish President Matt Jewel later toured the area by air and told NBC affiliate WDSU in New Orleans that he believed every structure in the parish had suffered some damage.

There are approximately 53,000 residents who live in St. Charles Parish. An outage map from utility provider Entergy Louisiana showed 21,201 customers without power as of Tuesday afternoon. 

New Orleans city websites go down; Ida updates to be communicated via social media, text message

345d ago / 4:10 PM UTC

Websites run by the city of New Orleans, including its portal for emergency preparedness, went down Tuesday as Louisiana continues to struggle in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

The city can still communicate with residents via social media and text message alerts.

Power outages are plaguing much of southeast Louisiana, as temperatures are set to reach the high 80s on Tuesday with a heat index pushing the real feel closer to 100.

National Weather Service in New Orleans issues heat advisory amid power outages caused by Ida

345d ago / 3:15 PM UTC

Searing heat is compounding misery for areas hit by Hurricane Ida. 

The National Weather Service in New Orleans issued a heat advisory for dozens of communities in southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi Tuesday, warning of temperatures that could feel like as high as 105 degrees Fahrenheit. This is of particular concern as more than one million people in Louisiana remain without power and are lacking basic supplies to reduce the effects of the heat. 

"The heat advisory for today does pose a big challenge," the National Weather Service tweeted. "While you need to keep hydrated, know if you're under a boil water advisory." 

NWS recommended finding safe areas of shade to stand in, creating paper fans and covering the outside of the windows with something reflective.

"Minimize any activity outside during the afternoon peak temps or in warm areas and take frequent breaks," the service said. 

Flooding, destruction from Hurricane Ida create difficulties for rescuers trying to reach vulnerable communities

and

345d ago / 1:58 PM UTC
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Communities hardest hit by Hurricane Ida are now facing agonizing waits for rescue, cut off due to roads that've been either been wiped out entirely or rendered useless by uncleared storm debris.

"We've got a large population center that got hit with a very large Category 4 storm,"  Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto said. "Everybody's hurting in different ways." 

Ida left a trail of destruction in towns like Grand Isle, Louisiana, but first responders and crews armed with chainsaws are struggling to reach the inhabited — and suddenly isolated — barrier island.

Highways and backroads across the Pelican State are a minefield of downed trees and power lines as the stranded could be stuck for days.

"I had to get them to come rescue me from my house to get out, that's how bad it is," said one Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development worker out cleaning debris from roads.

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

345d ago / 1:10 PM UTC

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 poweroutage.us. 

Ida bringing flooding, tornado risk from Gulf Coast to New England

345d ago / 12:21 PM UTC

Ida has weakened to a tropical depression, but the impacts are far from over. About 71 million people are now under Flash Flood Watches extending from the Gulf Coast to New England. The flood alerts include the metro areas of Atlanta, Nashville, Washington, Philadelphia and New York City.

On Tuesday, Ida will bring heavy rain and strong thunderstorms to portions of Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and the Florida Panhandle. Rainfall rates of two to three inches an hour will be the greatest risk, followed by the risk for isolated tornadoes.      

On Wednesday, the heavy rain and risk for tropical tornadoes will move into the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Wednesday evening into Thursday, torrential rain could lead to a high risk for flash flooding across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Locations in southern Pennsylvania through much of New Jersey and Long Island may have the greatest risk of dangerous flash flooding.

Rainfall forecast Wednesday-Thursday: 

Philadelphia: 2-4”

New York City: 3-5”

Washington: 1-3”

Harrisburg, Penn.: 5-7”

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

345d ago / 11:56 AM UTC

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. 

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345d ago / 11:19 AM UTC

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

345d ago / 11:01 AM UTC

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

345d ago / 10:53 AM UTC
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 poweroutage.us

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

345d ago / 10:44 AM UTC

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.

“We’ve got so much Covid in the Southeastern United States,” said Dr. James McDeavitt, senior vice president and dean of clinical affairs at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “The pandemic will probably will get worse.”

Click here to read the full story

345d ago / 10:41 AM UTC

2 people killed in Mississippi highway collapse

345d ago / 8:55 AM UTC
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.