Electricity was still cut to more than a million homes and businesses Tuesday morning after Hurricane Ida swept through Louisiana and Mississippi, causing flooding, destruction and the deaths of at least four people.
The powerful weather system, now a tropical depression, was one of the strongest hurricanes to ever make landfall in the region.
On Monday night, two people were killed and 10 were injured after a 50-foot stretch of highway collapsed in George County, Mississippi, an area that has seen torrential rains for the past 24 hours. time. Three of the injured were critical, according to Mississippi Highway Patrol Trooper Calvin Robertson. Authorities have not identified the two deceased.
The latest on Ida:
Earlier today, at least two deaths in Louisiana were linked to the storm: a 60-year-old man, who died in Ascension Parish when a tree fell on his house, and a man who drowned after crossing a flooded road, authorities said.
Another 71-year-old Louisiana was presumed dead after being attacked by an alligator on Monday in an area flooded during Hurricane Ida, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office said. A woman from Slidell said her husband was walking in the flood waters around noon when he was attacked by the large alligator, the sheriff’s office said.
She said she had put him to safety and then went to a boat for help, but when she returned he was not on the steps.
The system moved north into the Mississippi on Tuesday morning, bringing heavy rains and the threat of flooding from the Gulf Coast to the Tennessee and Ohio valleys and into the mid-Atlantic on Wednesday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The hurricane center also warned of the threat of tornadoes in eastern Alabama, western Georgia and the Florida Panhandle.
Ida made landfall as a Category 4 storm on Sunday, with winds of 150 mph on the same date as devastating Hurricane Katrina 16 years earlier.
More than a million homes and businesses in Louisiana went without power for a second day early Tuesday. Entergy, one of the region’s main electricity suppliers, tweeted Monday that it “will probably take days to determine the extent of damage to our power grid … and much longer to restore power to the region.”
Residents who remained in the area throughout the storm woke up Monday to scenes of destruction. Houma, Louisiana, resident Theophilus Charles, 70, lost the house his grandmother had built in the storm.
“I don’t have a dry place in the house. My roof has fallen. I lost all my clothes, my furniture, my appliances, everything, ”he told Reuters.
“I lost everything I had. I mean, I lost everything. And nothing I can do with it, there’s no fixing you know.
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Louisiana’s medical system, already strained by the Covid-19 crisis, was another major source of concern before and after the storm. Four hospitals have evacuated patients, while many more are investigating damage to their buildings.
“The last thing in the world we needed was a Category 4 hurricane, but here it is,” Dr. Mark Kline, chief medical officer at New Orleans Children’s Hospital, said on MSNBC on Monday.
The hospital, which experienced flooding on the ground floor, as well as water leaks through the roof, is now running on a generator. Kline said he, along with much of the hospital staff, had not yet returned home to assess the damage to their own homes.
Experts also fear that the high levels of coronavirus circulating in Louisiana, coupled with low vaccination rates and the forced proximity that occurs during a storm, may set the stage for an explosion of Covid-19 cases.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards urged evacuees not to attempt to return home, citing widespread power outages, road closures and other dangerous conditions.
“There are a lot of unknowns at the moment,” he said at a press conference on Monday. “There are definitely more questions than answers. I can’t tell you when the power will be back on. I can’t tell you when all the debris will be cleaned up and repairs made etc. What I can tell you, is that we are going to work hard every day to provide as much help as possible.
Officials at Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans said there would be no flights to or from the city on Tuesday, and there have so far been 197 cancellations for Wednesday.
On Monday, dozens of rescue missions were launched in southern Louisiana to evacuate people stranded in their homes. Operations to respond to the hundreds of emergency calls were hampered by inoperative 911 lines, now restored, and poor cell phone service reported throughout Southeast Louisiana.
The Louisiana National Guard activated 4,900 Guardsmen and was positioned to send nearly 200 vehicles to the high seas and more than 70 rescue boats and 30 helicopters. As of Monday afternoon, 191 people and 27 pets had been rescued after teams checked 400 homes, Edwards told reporters.