NEW ORLEANS (CN) — Half of Louisiana, including the entire city of New Orleans, and more than 100,000 people in Mississippi were still in the dark Monday morning after Hurricane Ida tore off roofs and submerged streets and buildings.
The Category 4 storm devastated Grand Isle, Louisiana, on Sunday with 150 mph winds at landfall before touching down again in Galliano, near the mouth of the Mississippi River not far from New Orleans, on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Ida tied Katrina for the fifth strongest hurricane to ever make landfall in the mainland United States.
The full impact of the storm may not be known for days, particularly when it comes to the power grid. It will likely take more than a few days to restore electricity in the region, according to a Nola.com report.
“Tomorrow we’ll know more. Hopefully we’ll build on that, once we have boots on the ground,” Deanna Rodriguez, president and CEO of Entergy New Orleans, said around 1 a.m. Monday morning.
The eight transmission lines that were lost are the tributaries by which most of the electrical power used by the New Orleans region is delivered from elsewhere in the state. Fully restoring power will require fixing those lines, as well as repairing the normal power lines that bring electricity to homes and businesses.
“Please remain where you are,” a text from the city of New Orleans urged residents just before daybreak Monday. “Ida has left hazards across Louisiana including flooded roadways, debris & downed powerlines.”
Twenty minutes later, the city texted again: “911 remains out, and roads are covered in debris/trees/power lines. Although weather passed, continue to stay indoors & off roads.”
Elsewhere in Louisiana, rescue teams and city officials scrambled at first light to assess damages and respond to emergencies.
In Ascension Parish, which includes part of Baton Rouge, a 60-year-old man was killed Sunday night when a tree fell through his home as Ida’s winds tore down power lines, tipped over gas pumps and left trees scattered on Interstate 10.
Ascension Parish officials said on Facebook they had dispatched crews at sunrise Monday to clear roads of fallen trees and downed power lines.
“For your safety, please be patient and stay off the roadways while these crews are working to restore Ascension Parish,” the parish's homeland security agency advised residents. Louisiana has parishes instead of counties.
Sharon Weston Broome, mayor-president of the city of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish, announced early Monday the parish had dispatched 25 search-and-rescue teams to neighboring towns.
There were also near misses in Central, a Baton Rouge suburb, where firefighters rescued an elderly woman early Monday morning after a tree fell on her mobile home and took her to the hospital.
Central Fire Department Chief Derek Glover told WAFB TV, “We’ve had 12 calls for assistance with trees on homes. Out of those 12 approximately five have been people inside of them. … A lot of the access to some of the calls we’ve been trying to get to, trees on homes, the roads have been blocked so we’ve had to cut our way to some of these incidents to check on the individuals.”
Around 12:45 a.m. Monday Glover said the fire department had only one such call left to take care of: “We have a mother with six children, a tree fell on the house, and she can no longer stay there. We’re getting her out of the home, getting the kids out and transporting her to a local shelter here in Central.”
Despite the property damage, Glover said he only knew of one Central resident, the elderly woman, who had been hospitalized with injuries from the storm.