Hurricane Ida traps Louisianans, shatters the power grid

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Rescuers acceptable retired successful hundreds of boats and helicopters to scope radical trapped by floodwaters Monday, and inferior repair crews rushed in, aft a furious Hurricane Ida swamped the Louisiana seashore and ravaged the electrical grid successful the stifling, late-summer heat.

Residents surviving amid the maze of rivers and bayous on the state’s Gulf Coast retreated desperately to their attics oregon roofs and posted their addresses connected societal media with instructions for search-and-rescue teams connected wherever to find them.

More than 1 cardinal customers successful Louisiana and Mississippi — including each of New Orleans — were near without powerfulness arsenic Ida, 1 of the astir almighty hurricanes ever to deed the U.S. mainland, pushed done connected Sunday and aboriginal Monday earlier weakening into a tropical storm.

Officials warned it could beryllium weeks earlier the powerfulness grid is repaired.

As the tempest continued to marque its mode inland with torrential rainfall and shrieking winds, it was blamed for astatine slightest 2 deaths — a motorist who drowned successful New Orleans, and a idiosyncratic deed by a falling histrion extracurricular Baton Rouge.

But with galore roads impassable and cellphone work knocked retired successful places, the afloat grade of its fury was inactive coming into focus. Christina Stephens, a spokesperson for Gov. John Bel Edwards, said that fixed the level of destruction, “We’re going to person galore much confirmed fatalities.”

The governor’s bureau said harm to the powerfulness grid appeared “catastrophic” — dispiriting quality for those near without refrigeration oregon aerial conditioning during the canine days of summer, with highs forecast successful the mid-80s to adjacent to 90 by midweek.

In hard-hit LaPlace, squeezed betwixt the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, rescuers saved radical from flooded homes successful a near-constant operation.

Debbie Greco, her hubby and her lad rode retired the tempest successful LaPlace with Greco’s parents. Water reached the first-floor windows, past knocked down the backmost doorway and filled the ceramic location with 4 feet of water. They retreated to the 2nd floor, but past screaming winds collapsed the roof.

They were yet rescued by vessel aft waiting successful the lone adust spot, 5 radical sharing the landing connected the stairs.

“When I rebuild this I’m retired of here. I’m done with Louisiana,” said Greco’s father, 85-year-old Fred Carmouche, a lifelong resident.

Elsewhere successful LaPlace, radical pulled pieces of chimneys, gutters and different parts of their homes to the curb and residents of a mobile location parkland waded done floodwaters.

The hurricane blew ashore connected the 16th day of Katrina, the 2005 tempest that breached New Orleans’ levees, devastated the metropolis and was blamed for 1,800 deaths.

This time, New Orleans appeared to flight the catastrophic flooding metropolis officials had feared. And the politician said Louisiana’s levees, heavy overhauled since Katrina, “performed highly well.” But helium said the tempest inactive inflicted “tremendous damage” to homes and businesses.

Stephanie Blaise returned to her location with her begetter successful New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward aft evacuating. It lone mislaid immoderate shingles. But with nary thought erstwhile energy would beryllium restored, she didn’t program to enactment long.

“We don’t request to spell done that. I’m going to person to person him to leave. We got to spell somewhere. Can’t enactment successful this heat,” she said.

New Orleans constabulary reported receiving galore reports of stealing and said they made respective arrests.

The metropolis urged radical who evacuated to enactment distant for astatine slightest a mates of days due to the fact that of the deficiency of powerfulness and fuel. “There’s not a batch of reasons to travel back,” said Collin Arnold, main of exigency preparedness.

Also, 18 h2o systems serving astir 255,000 customers successful Louisiana were knocked retired of service, the authorities Health Department said.

Four Louisiana hospitals were damaged and 39 aesculapian facilities were operating connected generator power, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said. Officials said they were evacuating scores of patients to different cities.

The governor’s bureau said implicit 2,200 evacuees were staying successful 41 shelters arsenic of Monday morning, a fig expected to emergence arsenic radical were rescued oregon escaped from flooded homes. The governor’s spokesperson said the authorities volition enactment to determination radical to hotels arsenic soon arsenic imaginable truthful that they tin support their region from 1 another.

“This is simply a COVID nightmare,” Stephens said, adding: “We bash expect that we could spot immoderate COVID spikes related to this.”

Interstate 10 betwixt New Orleans and Baton Rouge — the main east-west way on the Gulf Coast — was closed due to the fact that of flooding, with the h2o reported to beryllium 4 feet heavy astatine 1 spot, officials said.

Preliminary measurements showed Slidell, Louisiana, got astatine slightest 15.7 inches of rain, portion New Orleans received astir 14 inches, forecasters said. Other parts of Louisiana and Mississippi, Alabama and Florida got 5 to 11 inches.

The Louisiana National Guard said it activated 4,900 Guard unit and lined up 195 high-water vehicles, 73 rescue boats and 34 helicopters. Local and authorities agencies were adding hundreds of more.

Emergency officials had not heard from Grand Isle since Sunday afternoon. About 40 radical stayed connected the obstruction island, which took the brunt of the hurricane and was swamped by seawater, Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng said.

The hurricane twisted and collapsed a elephantine operation that carries cardinal transmission lines implicit the Mississippi River to the New Orleans area, causing wide outages, Entergy and section authorities said. The powerfulness institution said much than 2,000 miles of transmission lines were retired of service, on with 216 substations. The operation had survived Katrina.

The tempest besides flattened inferior poles, brought trees down onto powerfulness lines and caused transformers to detonate with flashes that lit up the nighttime sky.

The politician said connected Sunday that 30,000 inferior workers were successful the authorities to assistance reconstruct electricity.

AT&T’s said its wireless web successful Louisiana was reduced to 60% of normal. Many radical resorted to utilizing walkie-talkies. The governor’s bureau unit had nary moving phones. The institution sent a mobile operation to the state’s exigency preparedness bureau truthful that it could get immoderate service.

Charchar Chaffold near her location adjacent LaPlace for Alabama aft a histrion fell connected it connected Sunday. She frantically tried to get successful interaction via substance connection with 5 household members who had stayed behind.

She past heard from them Sunday night. They were successful the attic aft h2o rushed into their home. “They told maine they they thought they was going to die, I told them they are not and called for help,” she said.

Ida’s 150 mph (230 kph) winds tied it for the fifth-strongest hurricane ever to deed the mainland. Its winds were down to 40 mph (64 kph) astir midday Monday.

In Mississippi’s southwestern corner, full neighborhoods were surrounded by floodwaters, and galore roads were impassable.

Ida was expected to prime up velocity Monday nighttime earlier dumping rainfall connected the Tennessee and Ohio River valleys Tuesday, the Appalachian upland portion Wednesday and the nation’s superior connected Thursday.

Forecasters said flash flooding and mudslides are imaginable on Ida’s way earlier it blows retired to oversea implicit New England connected Friday.


Reeves reported from LaPlace, Louisiana. Associated Press writers Janet McConnaughey successful New Orleans; Emily Wagster Pettus successful Jackson, Mississippi; Seth Borenstein successful Kensington, Maryland; Michael Biesecker successful Washington; Sudhin Thanawala successful Atlanta; and Jeffrey Collins successful Columbia, South Carolina, contributed to this report.

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