Ida triggers massive flooding across Northeast

By Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Joshua Berlinger, Amy Woodyatt, Aditi Sangal, Adam Renton and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:01 AM ET, Fri September 3, 2021
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8:28 p.m. ET, September 2, 2021

Access to gas continues to be one of Louisiana's biggest needs following Hurricane Ida

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Motorists wait in line for gas after Hurricane Ida on September 1,  in Hammond, Louisiana.
Motorists wait in line for gas after Hurricane Ida on September 1, in Hammond, Louisiana. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Access to gas continues to be one of Louisiana’s biggest needs following Hurricane Ida, as it is important to the state’s continued response and recovery, Gov. John Bel Edwards said.

The governor said there are currently eight refineries that are not operating in Louisiana, making up two-thirds of its refining capacity. Edwards said the state expects two of those refineries to come back online in the next couple of days and at least two more in the days following.

“Even if that happens, we're going to be at half of our refining capacity,” the governor said. “So we continue to look for other solutions.”

Edwards said he had a call with the White House Wednesday night to address the issue and also spoke with the secretary of energy this morning.

“She has approved, for example, for Exxon Mobil and other refiners to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to access crude, so that those refineries that can actually make gas and diesel,” the governor said.

The governor also noted that the number of Louisiana residents in public shelters after Hurricane Ida continues to climb, with 3,425 individuals being sheltered in 35 shelters across the state as of 5 p.m. Thursday.


7:56 p.m. ET, September 2, 2021

NYPD rescues more than 800 passengers from city's subways, chief says

From CNN’s Mark Morales

More than 800 passengers were rescued from across the New York City's subway system due to last night's storm, New York Police Department Chief Rodney Harrison said Thursday.

Along with the 835 passengers rescued, the NYPD made 69 water rescues and 166 non-water rescues related to the remnants of Hurricane Ida, Harrison said.

Twenty of the 69 water rescues happened in Queens, and 18 of the 20 Queens rescues occurred at the ongoing US Open tennis tournament, Harrison said.

The NYPD’s Emergency Services Unit made a separate 166 non-water rescues, Harrison said.

Harrison said 25 families need relocation because of the storm. The NYPD also found 496 vehicles abandoned across the city. There are still more vehicles that need to be taken out of the roadway, he said.

Additionally, Harrison said the only highway in the city that remains shut down is a part of the Bronx River Parkway.

The NYPD has also formed a task force of officers who will go door-to-door to check on residents in areas of the city where water rose to dangerous levels.

7:43 p.m. ET, September 2, 2021

Louisiana governor calls for an investigation into storm-related nursing home deaths

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess


Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards called for an investigation into the deaths of four nursing home residents, who were evacuated to a facility in Tangipahoa Parish ahead of Hurricane Ida.

Edwards said three of the four deaths were classified as storm-related by the coroner, including a 59-year-old female from Jefferson Parish, a 52-year-old male from Orleans Parish, and a 77-year-old male from Terrebonne Parish.

“Upon being notified of deteriorating and inadequate shelter conditions at the facility, LDH inspectors visited the site, and I will tell you, were expelled from the property and prevented from conducting the full assessment and that was on Tuesday. They worked hard and they got with other state agencies and local officials, made sure we had new placements for these residents and starting with the most vulnerable. And in a little over 24 hours, all 843 residents were removed from the facility,” Edwards said.

“I would point out that, unless there's a mandatory evacuation order, nursing homes make the decisions about when and where to evacuate. And obviously, they have an obligation legal, moral and otherwise, to always provide safe and adequate conditions for their residents as best they are able to do,” the governor added.

The governor said the 843 nursing home residents were moved to a number of other nursing homes, 12 were moved to a hospital, and others to special needs shelters across Louisiana.

“We're going to do a full investigation into whether these facilities, the owner of the facilities failed to keep residents safe, and whether he intentionally obstructed efforts to check in on them, and determine what the conditions were in the shelter,” Edwards said. “If warranted, we will take aggressive legal action against any responsible parties. Our top priority now is making sure that the vulnerable residents are safe and well cared for.”

7:24 p.m. ET, September 2, 2021

Northeast electricity provider plans to finish 95% of power restoration by Friday night

From CNN's Rob Frehse

Con Edison says it plans to finish 95% of power restoration by Friday night after the brutal weather from Hurricane Ida.

There were 32,000 customers that lost power after the storm Wednesday and a total of 13,216 are still without power, according to Con Edison. 

“Con Edison estimates that ninety five percent of the affected customers in Westchester will be restored by midnight on Friday,” the company said in a news release. “Ninety five percent of the affected Bronx customers will be restored by 3 p.m. on Friday and 95% of the affected Brooklyn customers will be restored by 11 a.m. on Friday. Ninety five percent of the affected customers in Queens will be restored by midnight tonight.”

The company said they brought in about 500 outside contractors to help with power restoration efforts.

Con Edison provides energy for 10 million people who live in New York City and Westchester County, according to their website.

7:04 p.m. ET, September 2, 2021

At least 8 confirmed tornadoes hit the Northeast

From CNN's Taylor Ward

There were at least eight confirmed tornadoes in the Northeast on Wednesday, according to storm surveys conducted by the National Weather Service. 

Four tornadoes have been reported in Pennsylvania, including an EF-2 in Fort Washington, with winds up to 130 mph. 

Three tornadoes were confirmed in New Jersey, including one in Mullica Hill, although no other details were available yet. One tornado was also confirmed in southeast Massachusetts – an EF-0 with 75 mph winds in Dennis.

Some context: Some of the tornadoes have been confirmed, but details on the size and strength are not available yet. Other areas, like Maryland, have several preliminary tornado reports, but damage surveys have not been conducted.


7:30 p.m. ET, September 2, 2021

New Jersey governor pleads with residents: "Don't go near these waters"

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy described a “historic” disaster in his state today and pleaded with residents not to aggravate the situation by furthering endangering themselves in the receding floodwaters.

Murphy said first responders rescued a second round of people today after they made their way through the standing water. 

“My big plea is don’t try that,” he said, speaking to CNN's Wolf Blitzer today. “Don’t go near these waters, stay home, stay away.”

“It will be our long road, but we will get back on our feet together,” he added.

Murphy also clarified that none of the state’s 23 storm-related deaths were related to tornado warnings, saying he thinks some state residents might have taken the flood warnings less seriously than the tornado warnings.

“The tornado warnings came out just as the flood warnings came out,” Murphy said. “Everybody, when they got the tornado warning, went into their basement and I think there were too many people who thought that they could deal with flooding and sadly, some of them either in their homes or in their cars, lost their lives.”

6:20 p.m. ET, September 2, 2021

There are 44,000 customers without power in New Jersey, governor says

From CNN's Laura Ly

A closed road sign is seen on September 02, 2021 in Passaic, New Jersey.
A closed road sign is seen on September 02, 2021 in Passaic, New Jersey. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he spoke with President Biden and the Federal Emergency Management Agency's administrator, Deanne Criswell, Thursday about the storm damage in his state in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

“We’re doing everything we can to speed up the recovery process and I’m grateful for the communication and offers of assistance from FEMA, whose administrator I spoke with this morning, as well as with President Biden, with whom I also spoke this morning. And I deeply appreciate their support," Murphy said.

Murphy said he also toured the storm-damaged Mullica Hill neighborhood of Harrison, “where a devastating tornado tore through multiple houses, leveling some down to their foundation.” He said he plans to tour more storm-damaged neighborhoods later on Thursday and Friday. 

Murphy said that at the height of the storm, 93,000 customers were without power. As of Thursday evening, about 44,000 customers are still without power, he said.

7:05 p.m. ET, September 2, 2021

3 Jefferson Parish residents died from carbon monoxide-related exposure

From CNN’s Keith Allen and Rebekah Riess

The deaths of three Jefferson Parish residents as a result of carbon monoxide-related exposure in a home have been linked to Hurricane Ida, the Louisiana Department of Health said Thursday.

A 65-year-old woman from the same parish also drowned in floodwaters, the department said in tweets Thursday. CNN reported the Jefferson Parish drowning death on Tuesday.

According to CNN’s reporting, there are now 13 fatalities connected to Hurricane Ida in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Correction: An earlier version of this post included the wrong number of deaths connected to the storm. There are now 13 fatalities.

6:13 p.m. ET, September 2, 2021

More than 1,000 FEMA employees are providing hurricane relief in Louisiana and Mississippi

From CNN's Geneva Sands

Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, 55th Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was briefed by Col. Zachary Miller this morning, at the FEMA Joint Field Office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on USACE support of FEMA's Hurricane Ida emergency power, temporary roofing, temporary housing, infrastructure assessment, and debris removal missons.
Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, 55th Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was briefed by Col. Zachary Miller this morning, at the FEMA Joint Field Office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on USACE support of FEMA's Hurricane Ida emergency power, temporary roofing, temporary housing, infrastructure assessment, and debris removal missons. (U.S. Army National Guard/ZUMA Press)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has more than 1,100 employees currently supporting the response to Hurricane Ida in Louisiana and Mississippi, officials said on a call with reporters Thursday afternoon. 

When asked about the agency's ability to support both Louisiana and the northeastern states battered by rainfall, Matthew Payne, acting deputy assistant administrator for FEMA's response operations division, said, "we leaned very far forward in our preparations prior to the storm making landfall."

Payne said FEMA is "actively working to meet the needs" of people across multiple states amid several challenging situations, confirming that the agency is also prepared to support states impacted by the remnants of Hurricane Ida in the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast.

More support: There are also more than 2,000 Red Cross volunteers active today across the country, including those that are sheltering over 500 people in the Northeast across seven states, Brad Kieserman, vice president of operations and logistics at the American Red Cross, said on the call.

Its efforts include sheltering nearly 3,500 people in Louisiana and providing support in multiple parishes.

As of Thursday morning, 13 hospitals were evacuated in Louisiana, according to Payne. Six were fully evacuated and five were previously evacuated but are open, he said, adding that they were still waiting for updates on two hospitals. All of the hospitals that were evacuated were evacuated to locations within the state.

FEMA is also providing several ambulances to Mississippi, along with Louisiana. There is also a 250-bed federal medical shelter in Alexandria, Louisiana.

As of Thursday afternoon, FEMA had 240,000 applicants for disaster assistance from the state of Louisiana, FEMA director of the Individual Assistance Division Chris Smith said. 

FEMA has awarded nearly $93 million in individual assistance in Louisiana.