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Hurricane Ida made landfall on the coast of Louisiana Sunday as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, but was downgraded to a tropical storm early Monday. It's the storm's slow movement, sustained power and direction that are of ongoing concern.
Ida has slowed considerably but continues to draw energy from its own storm surge as well as the moisture of the area. The combination is hitting New Orleans with heavy rains in addition to strong winds, overpowering some levees and leaving more than one million people without power throughout Louisiana.
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.
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."
The warning is in effect until 6:45 a.m. E.T.
Power still out for more than 1 million people in Louisiana
Earlier, the entire city of New Orleans lost electricity due to "catastrophic transmission damage," with the city's only power coming from generators.
Flash flood emergency warning for Laplace, Luling and Destrehan
The National Weather Service on Monday warned of a flash flood emergency for Laplace, Luling and Destrehan, communities west of New Orleans, Louisiana. Residents were advised to move to higher ground and not walk or drive through flood waters until at least 8:30 a.m. E.T.
'Still a beast': Hurricane Ida remains powerful 13 hours after landfall
'Very, very bad': Images show damage, flooding from Hurricane Ida
As Hurricane Ida made landfall Sunday in southern Louisiana as a devastating Category 4 storm, NBC News compiled videos and photos showing the impact of 150 mph winds and what officials called a "catastrophic" storm surge.
Levee failure poses imminent threat to two communities
The National Weather Service office in New Orleans, citing local law enforcement, said Sunday night that over 200 people were in "imminent danger" in the town of Jean Lafitte and the unincorporated community of Lafitte, in Jefferson Parish, after a levee failed.
"Move to higher ground now!" the weather service said. "This is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation."
New Orleans mayor says power plant is compromised
Biden approves disaster declaration for Louisiana
President Joe Biden declared a major disaster exists in Louisiana on Sunday night, freeing federal aid for people and governments in the affected areas.
Residents of these parishes are eligible: Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana.
The aid can be used for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners. Funding assistance for debris removal is also available.
Residents and business owners who suffered losses can begin applying for assistance Monday by registering online or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.