US Week after Hurricane Ida's landfall, hundreds of thousands still without power
New Orleans levees pass Ida's test while some suburbs flood
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The levees, floodwalls and floodgates that protect New Orleans held up against Hurricane Ida's fury, passing their toughest test since the federal government spent billions of dollars to upgrade a system that catastrophically failed when Hurricane Katrina struck 16 years ago. But strengthening the flood protection system in New Orleans couldn't spare some neighboring communities from Ida's destructive storm surge. Many residents of LaPlace, a western suburb where work only recently began on a long-awaited levee project, had to be rescued from rising floodwaters.
One week after, hundreds of thousands of residents were still without power, and the state confirmed a 13th storm-related death Sunday.
More than 590,000 homes and businesses in Louisiana were without power Sunday, according to. About 24,000 people were working "around the clock" to restore power, Louisiana's largest electric utility company, Entergy, said Saturday.
Most residents in New Orleans will have power by Wednesday, but some of the hardest-hit areas – including Lafourche, Lower Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Charles and Terrebonne parishes – may be in the dark until the end of the month, Entergy estimates.
Ida live updates: New Orleans evacuees told not to return home until further notice
Hurricane Ida latest updates.
The storm damaged or destroyed more than 22,000 power poles, 26,000 spans of wire and 5,261 transformers – that’s more poles damaged or destroyed than hurricanes Katrina, Zeta and Delta combined, the company said. At the peak, 902,000 customers had lost power.
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line announced Saturday it entered into a charter agreement with Entergy to deploy its flagship vessel Grand Classica to New Orleans to house more than 1,500 workers as they restore power to the region.
"We got power!": Electricity back in sliver of New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — When a light came on in the laundry room in Byron Lambert's house at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, he awoke with a start, thinking he had a burglar. Then he quickly realized what he saw was cause for celebration: The power was back. Lambert happens to live in a small sliver of New Orleans where power was restored early Wednesday, more than two days after Hurricane Ida's Category 4 strength winds left the city and much of the region in darkness. "I'm like, ‘All right! We got power!’” Lambert said he remembered thinking. But then his enthusiasm was tempered by the knowledge of what others are still going through.
In Terrebonne Parish, Kentrell Garner and his two sons filled a large pot with bottled water Friday to boil shrimp for them and their neighbors. The trio stood among the stilts that once held up their home. The poles and part of the floor were all that remained intact. The rest was in piles.
Garner, 35, and his girlfriend had been renovating this house and living in another home down the bayou in Ashland South.
"It's gone, too," he said.
With both homes destroyed by Hurricane Ida, the couple and four kids – ages 3 to 17 – are spending their nights split between a shed and a camper that somehow made it through the Category 4 storm.
"We're homeless," he said, taking a breath.
Life in Louisiana's boot challenging, adventuresome post-Ida
BELLE CHASSE, La. (AP) — Life in Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish is a mix of frustration and a little adventure since Hurricane Ida, with cowboys wrangling loose cattle on a highway, residents navigating alligator-infested floodwaters to get home and thousands waiting in long lines for gas and food. On the plus side, no one died during the Category 4 storm in this narrow spit of soggy land southeast of New Orleans. On the down side, thousands of homes are damaged, many lack power and water and no one is sure when things will get back to normal.
At least 17 deaths were blamed on Ida in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. In the Northeast, Ida’s remnants dumped record-breaking rain and killed at least 50 people from Virginia to Connecticut.
The Louisiana Department of Health confirmed Sunday that a 74-year-old man in Orleans Parish died from heat during the power outage, the 13th storm-related death in the state.
Another man, 65,Friday after enduring for multiple days in a powerless, non air-conditioned apartment.
The National Weather Service issued multiple heat advisories last week because of the high humidity and temperatures in the region, and another was in effect Sunday for portions of southern Mississippi and southeast Louisiana.
The National Weather Service said heat index values were expected to range from 100 to 105 degrees.
Ida live updates: NJ tornado reached EF-3 rating, NWS says
MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. — A tornado that ripped through Mullica Hill, New Jersey, on Wednesday evening is believed to have had an EF-3 rating, with winds of up to 150 miles per hour (240 kph), according to the National Weather Service. The service in Mount Holly, New Jersey, released its preliminary report on the tornado on Thursday after confirming at least seven tornadoes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The Mullica Hill tornado stretched for 12.6 miles (20 kilometers) over a span of 20 minutes and was as wide as 400 yards (36 meters), the weather service said.
"Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors," the National Weather Service said.
Louisiana's death toll also includes five nursing home residents evacuated ahead of the hurricane along with hundreds of other seniors to a warehouse, where health officials said conditions became unsafe.
"The lack of regard for these vulnerable residents' well-being is an affront to human dignity. We have lost trust in these nursing homes to provide adequate care for their residents," Dr. Joseph Kanter, Louisiana’s state health officer, said in a news release Saturday.
As of now, Ida is the deadliest hurricane the U.S. has seen in four years and the deadliest storm in the Northeast since 2012's catastrophic Superstorm Sandy, which killed more than 100 people.
President Joe Biden traveled to Louisiana over the weekend to survey the damage and announced he will travel to Manville, New Jersey, and Queens, New York, on Tuesday.
Contributing: Leigh Guidry, The Daily Advertiser; The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY:
56 Percent of New Orleans Gas Stations Without Gas After Hurricane Ida .
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said last week that two-thirds of the state's oil refineries had stopped producing gas in the aftermath of the hurricane. He asked residents for patience until production could reach levels from before the hurricane. "There will be stations without gas, and there will be people who will have to wait for some period of time in a line to get gas," he said. The gas shortages are in addition to widespread power and water outages workers are still trying to rectify.