The desperation of those who weathered the storm can be seen in the four- to five-hour queues at the one or two gas stations still open in the parish of St. Bernard, said council member Richard Lewis. Many have refueled for their generators – preparing to withstand the time it will take their communities to reopen.
Although the storm has passed over the Gulf Coast, downed power lines, impassable roads and obstacles for rescuers have prompted many local officials to ask evacuated residents not to return yet. And for those who have been waiting for the storm at home, many will face temperatures of up to 103 degrees without access to electricity.
The teams are racing to solve the problem. More than 25,000 workers from at least 32 states and the District of Columbia have been mobilized to support power restoration efforts across Louisiana, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) said in a statement Monday.
But when it comes to power outages, “nothing is a quick fix,” New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said Monday.
“Although electricity depends on generators, I call on all of our employees and businesses that have the capacity in the city to be good neighbors,” Cantrell said. “Share the power you have, open your businesses with people to charge their devices.”
Help can be difficult
Many dangers, including downed structures, impassable roads and residual flooding, also impact the authorities’ ability to send aid.
Louisiana State Police (LSP) told stranded residents on Monday, “It can be difficult to get help for you for a while.”
As soldiers continue to help clear the roads, “the full extent of the damage is not yet known.” Search and rescue officers are still unable to access some areas, according to a Facebook post from the LSP.
“Much of the travel routes are blocked by felled trees and power lines. In addition, there is standing water in some areas which can deteriorate roads and wash away vehicles. Debris is also scattered throughout the area, which can make navigating our roads very difficult. difficult, ”said LSP.
Paul Middendorf spent hours on Monday rescuing people in LaPlace, Louisiana with his canoe, volunteering with the Crowdsource Rescue group.
“Most (of the rescues) were in the attic,” he said. “The water at the back of this neighborhood was about ten feet deep or more.”
As the hours passed, Middendorf said the water was starting to recede. Although it has only reached the knees in some parts, it continues to be chest deep with a strong current in many areas still inundated at LaPlace, he said.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said Monday he knew people were waiting to be rescued and that the state had deployed “thousands of people” to help with search and rescue efforts.
“We currently have thousands of people with vehicles and boats on the high seas conducting searches and rescues. We have dozens of helicopters,” said Edwards, adding that the state “is doing everything possible to reach everyone who needs help. “
And for those who have evacuated, dangerous conditions can also keep them away from their homes for some time.
Those seeking to return to Lafourche parish could be delayed for up to a week, officials said Monday, even as teams work “around the clock to clear the roads.”
“The roads in the parish of Lafourche are currently impassable and will be so for some time,” the parish said.
Dangerous road conditions contributed to the second death linked to the storm, the Louisiana Department of Health said on Monday.
According to the department, a man drowned after attempting to drive his vehicle through flood waters near I-10 and West End Blvd in New Orleans.
The first deadly storm occurred when a tree fell on a house in Prairieville, the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office said on Sunday.
“Hours of agony”
Potential weeks of hardship follow a night of heartbreaking experiences for many.
Don Dottolo, a resident of LaPlace, said Sunday night was more than he and his wife, Karen, felt they had to face.
“Of course I expected water. I can handle the water,” he said.
But Karen Dottolo said the water was deeper than expected. He started to enter their house when it was dark.
“We were scared for a little while because he was going up the stairs,” she said.
The couple told CNN they experienced several hurricanes, including Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
“It was scary, but it was scary 10 minutes,” Don Dottolo said. “It was hours of agony.”
In St. Tammany Parish, there have been no reports of deaths or injuries, but parish president Mike Cooper told CNN his parish suffered damage and widespread power outages such as much of the region.
“We just went through a horrible night with winds, rain, gusts, rising water, rising rivers, blackouts,” Cooper said. “It’s incredible.”
Hospitals respond and Tennessee prepares
In the aftermath of the storm, many Gulf Coast hospitals are wondering how to continue treating patients amid the damage.
Four Louisiana hospitals were evacuated on Monday, Edwards said.
“First of all, we really need our hospitals, more than anything else, to recover, so that people who are in intensive care rooms and on ventilators and so on can continue to receive life-saving care. that they need, ”said Edwards. . “It’s important all the time. It’s certainly important, even more, because of the Covid situation.”
As the storm continues to move north, authorities in Tennessee are preparing to feel the impacts.
The National Guard, Tennessee Department of Transportation and volunteer agencies are still cleaning up after a devastating and deadly flooding earlier this month in the town of Waverly, and the area is now bracing for potential impacts from Ida. The August 21 flooding in Humphreys County left 20 people dead.
In anticipation of possible flash floods, county owners were examining the damage to their homes before the storm to recover any remaining valuables that had survived the last flood.
CNN’s Rebekah Riess, Keith Allen, Kay Jones, Gregory Lemos, Paul Pr. Murphy, Amanda Watts and Jenn Selva contributed to this report.