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At least four dead in Ida’s wake as thousands remain without power

Two people were killed and 10 others injured when a highway collapsed as the hurricane brought torrential rain into Mississippi.

(CN) — At least four people have died as of Tuesday as Hurricane Ida plowed its way through the Southeast, knocking out power for the entire city of New Orleans and temporarily reversing the flow of the Mississippi River.

Two men died in Louisiana, the state’s department of health confirmed. A 60-year-old man died after a tree fell on his home in Ascension Parish, just northeast of New Orleans, on Sunday night. Another man drowned as his vehicle attempted to go through floodwater in New Orleans on Monday evening. His age was not immediately known.

Later on Monday night, two more people were killed and 10 others injured — three of which were in critical condition — after seven vehicles plunged into a deep hole when a highway collapsed as the hurricane brought torrential rain into Mississippi, the state’s highway patrol said. Details of the deceased have not yet been confirmed.

It was a dark, rural highway northeast of Biloxi, and the drivers may not have seen that the roadway in front of them had disappeared, Mississippi Highway Patrol Corporal Cal Robertson told the Associated Press

Some of the vehicles fell on top of each other as they plummeted into the 20- to 30-foot deep hole. Rescue crews had to use cranes to pull up the crumpled vehicles, and damage assessment continued into Tuesday morning.

Back in Louisiana, a 71-year-old man was missing after a reported alligator attack in Slidell, just north of New Orleans, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office confirmed. He is presumed dead, according to local news reports.

At around noon on Monday, a woman reported that her husband had been attacked and apparently killed by an alligator while walking in floodwater, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

The woman told deputies she was inside their home when she “heard a commotion and went outside to see a large alligator attacking her husband.”

She then ran to her husband’s aid to try to stop the attack, and once it stopped, she pulled him out of the water and went to gather first aid supplies. But when she realized the severity of his injuries, she got into a canoe to search for help. When she returned, her husband was no longer where she left him.

The man’s body has not yet been found.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said storm surge caused a temporary negative flow in the Mississippi River, which empties into the Gulf of Mexico just south of New Orleans, the Associated Press reported.

Major widespread flooding remains in hard-hit Louisiana, leaving the entire city of New Orleans in the dark due to power outages after eight electric company transmission lines failed, including a tower that fell into the Mississippi River, in the face of Ida’s winds.

In Mississippi, residents also lost power, but restoration efforts have been successful for many, according to the Clarion Ledger. Republican Governor Tate Reeves said Monday evening that damage appeared minimal and that state and local work crews should be able to handle most of the damage caused by the storm.

As Ida — now a tropical depression — made its way into Tennessee and further northeast, it brought with it steady, intermittent rain.

Flood watches were in effect for much of the central to eastern parts of Tennessee, with an expected three to six inches of rain and some isolated higher amounts, according to the National Weather Service.

Considerable flash flooding is still possible for much of the area between the Middle Tennessee Valley to southern New England, the weather service warned. And a tornado threat remains a concern for eastern Alabama, western Georgia, and the Florida Panhandle that will shift into portions of the Mid Atlantic on Wednesday.

Follow Rosana Hughes on Twitter

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