UNITED STATES: As hurricane Ida batters the U.S. state of Louisiana, New Orleans has lost power, with only generators working.
After slamming into Louisiana’s coast as a Category four storm, deadly Hurricane Ida severed power to New Orleans and endangered millions of people with howling winds and a storm surge that partially reversed the flow of the Mississippi River.
“Due to catastrophic transmission damage, all of Orleans Parish is currently without power,” utility company Entergy texted customers. The company said it was providing emergency power to the city’s Sewerage and Water Board but that residents should not expect electricity to be restored overnight.
So far, at least one death has been caused by the hurricane; when a tree fell a tree on their home in Ascension Parish, in the Baton Rogue area of Louisiana.
“Tonight, we have confirmed at least one death and sadly, we know there will be others,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement late Sunday. “Thousands of our people are without power and there is untold damage to property across the impacted parishes.”
It made landfall on Sunday south of New Orleans as a category four hurricane – meaning it would cause severe damage to buildings, trees and power lines. As it moves inland, Ida’s winds have dropped to 95mph (153km/h), meaning it is now a category one storm.
Edwards said President Joe Biden officially declared Ida a disaster, releasing federal funds to assist with rescue and recovery efforts, which will begin in earnest Monday morning.
President Biden said Ida would be “life-threatening”, with immense devastation likely beyond the coasts.
Ida will test New Orleans’ flood defences, strengthened after Hurricane Katrina killed 1,800 people in 2005.
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Sunday evening in New Orleans’ Mid City, the usually lively Esplanade Avenue was empty of cars and devoid of light save for the few houses where generators kept the power alive. Pieces of the street’s iconic oaks lay in dark heaps in the middle of the road. For longtime New Orleans residents, the storm wasn’t anything they hadn’t seen before.