Hurricane Ida has been downgraded to a tropical storm after leaving all of New Orleans without power, blowing off rooftops and even reversing the flow of the Mississippi River. The hurricane hit southeastern Louisiana as a Category 4 storm on Sunday (Aug. 29), bringing 150 mile-per-hour winds, heavy rain and flash flooding.
Entergy confirmed in a statement that the storm caused “catastrophic damage” to the area’s transmission system, leaving over one million homes and businesses in New Orleans without power, PowerOutage.US reports. Residents in the city and neighboring Baton Rouge also reported widespread cell phone service outages and were left without air conditioning and refrigeration amidst high summer temperatures.
As flash flood warnings intensified, there were reports about people being trapped in their homes and emergency boat rescues continued throughout Sunday evening. The sheriff’s office in Ascension Parish confirmed one death due to the storm and said a person was killed after a tree fell on a house in Prairieville.
The National Hurricane Center said Ida could “produce additional rainfall totals of four to eight [inches] with localized higher amounts possible across portions of southeast Louisiana into far southern Mississippi.”
“Storm total rainfall accumulations of 10 to 18 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 24 inches is expected,” it added. Forecasters also warned of possible tornadoes in areas north and east of the storm.
Ida weakened before hitting southern Mississippi on Monday (Aug. 30), but the tropical storm is still wreaking havoc with heavy winds, rainfall and potential flash flooding. On Tuesday (Aug. 31), the storm is expected to move into the Tennessee Valley. President Joe Biden previously approved a disaster declaration for Louisiana.
The storm reached land on the same day that Hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana and Mississippi 16 years ago. Ida is reportedly one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to hit the U.S. mainland.
See disturbing videos and photos of the damage, rescues and more on Twitter below.