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- One person is confirmed to have died from Ida, but authorities expect the death toll to rise.
- When it made landfall on Sunday, Ida was stronger than Hurricane Katrina, but the levees around New Orleans held up better than 16 years ago, officials said.
- Search and rescue efforts were underway in Louisiana, even as large areas remained without power and conditions were unsafe for first responders.
- Ida hasn’t finished yet. The storm is moving north into other states and has threatened parts of the United States with tornadoes and more wind and rain.
Gulf Coast residents have woken up to destruction from Tropical Storm Ida, a powerful Category 4 hurricane when it hit Louisiana on Sunday.
On Monday morning, Ida continued to move north, rocking parts of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida with high winds, heavy rain and the threat of tornadoes.
The storm left felled trees and power lines and millions of people without power, including the entire city of New Orleans, slowing search and rescue efforts. The Orleans Parish 911 emergency call center experienced service outages.
Officials said New Orleans was better prepared for a major storm than it was in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina devastated the coastal city.
Yet they are bracing for a long recovery after what Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards called “one of the most severe storms to make landfall in modern times.”
The death toll is expected to rise
At least one person is known to have died from Ida, but officials said Monday they expected the death toll to rise throughout the day.
Edwards, in an interview with NBC’s Today Show on Monday, said he expected the death toll to increase “dramatically”.
“I don’t want to tell you what I’m hearing, because what I’m hearing says so much more than that. They are not yet confirmed and I really don’t want to go,” the governor said. noted.
Some areas of Louisiana were subject to mandatory evacuation orders, but officials said not everyone was able to get out before Ida arrived.
The recovery is only just beginning. it may take weeks
Louisiana deployed 1,600 workers to conduct search and rescue operations on Monday, as the storm subsided in parts of the state.
Louisiana State Police unsafe conditions reported and blocked roads, and authorities have asked residents to avoid travel.
In some areas, it may take more than a month for power to be turned on again.
Jefferson Parish Emergency Management Director Joe Valiente told NPR it would take at least six weeks to restore power to much of the Louisiana coast.
“The damage is incredible,” said Valiente. “There are about 10 parishes whose power grids are completely collapsed and damaged, broken, destroyed – as you mean.”
Ida made immediate comparisons to Hurricane Katrina, which landed in New Orleans exactly 16 years earlier and caused devastating flooding throughout the city.
Edwards said the dike system, which failed to contain floodwaters during Katrina, performed better this time around.
“The situation in New Orleans, as bad as it is today without electricity, would be much worse,” Edwards said on the Today spectacle. “All you have to do is go back 16 years and you kind of get a glimpse of what it might have been like.”
Yet others feared that Ida’s consequences would exceed this historic storm in terms of damage.
“It’s going to be worse for the area I work in, because Katrina has taken a turn and it’s hitting Mississippi more than here,” Marcell Rodriguez, Chief of Police for the City of Montreal, told WWNO on Sunday. Jean Lafitte. . “I know New Orleans got stuck because of this dike failure. But the truth is the winds weren’t like that.”
Jean Lafitte is in the parish of Jefferson about 30 minutes south of New Orleans.
“I’m 70 years old. I grew up there and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Rodriguez added. “It’s going to be a nightmare.”
Ida is not finished yet
Flash floods with the possibility of dangerous storm surge conditions will continue along parts of the Mississippi and Alabama coasts, according to the National Weather Service.
Parts of Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana will continue to experience rain and high winds from Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning.
As Ida continues to move north, the Tennessee and Ohio valleys, the central and southern Appalachians, and the mid Atlantic can expect to see heavy rains and flooding until Wednesday.