Ida pummels Louisiana

By Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya, Aditi Sangal, Judson Jones, Jack Guy, Kathryn Snowdon, and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 9:00 p.m. ET, August 30, 2021
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9:49 a.m. ET, August 30, 2021

"The worst case scenario seems to have happened" in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, official says

As daylight hit, authorities launched teams to conduct search and rescue operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. The credible reports paint a terrible picture on the ground, Louisiana’s Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng said.

"Unfortunately, the worst case scenario seems to have happened," Lee Sheng said, adding that some houses are flooded with water that's "beyond chest high. It's up to the top of the roof."

The weather conditions and power outages made it tough for teams to work overnight.

"This is an area that has a lot of swampland, alligators, very dangerous conditions. They had to wait for the sun to come up this morning. They had a strategy," Lee Sheng explained. "We have people out there ready to clear roads. We're going to have boats, high-water vehicles. Our first responders are ready to go. They just needed the daylight to be able to do their best work."

10:26 a.m. ET, August 30, 2021

This is what Tropical Storm Ida's forecast currently looks like

Ida slammed Louisiana with devastating force as a Category 4 hurricane Sunday. Although Ida has now weakened to a tropical storm, it has the power to deliver damaging winds still.

Strong winds, especially in gusts, are expected to continue over southeastern Louisiana and southwestern Mississippi through this morning. 

Rainfall is the greatest concern right now. 

The threat of excessive rainfall will be over the Central Gulf Coast and Tennessee Valley on Monday into Tuesday says the Weather Prediction Center. And then up toward the Northeast. 

Over 50 million people are under flash flood watches from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast. 

You can follow Ida's path here.

Watch:

8:50 a.m. ET, August 30, 2021

Louisiana National Guard begins search and rescue alongside state agencies

From CNN’s Gregory Lemos

The Louisiana National Guard said Monday they have begun search and rescue efforts after Hurricane Ida left catastrophic damage throughout the state.

According to a tweet, Guard members set out early this morning in LaPlace with other local and state agencies.

LaPlace is located in St. John the Baptist Parish and is around 30 miles northwest of New Orleans.

The LANG said Sunday it has activated 4,900 Guardsmen and staged 195 high-water vehicles, 73 rescue boats, 34 helicopters to assist with the response to the storm.

9:18 a.m. ET, August 30, 2021

Ida caused an electrical tower to collapse. The power lines are now in the Mississippi River.

From CNN’s Amanda Watts 

Jefferson County Emergency Management Director Joseph Valiente told CNN affiliate WVUE that there are power lines in the Mississippi River after an electrical tower collapsed during Hurricane Ida. 

“We know there’s transmission lines in the river, we know it fell toward the river, but we don’t know whether or not a part of the structure is actually in the river itself,” Valiente said. 

“We just haven't been able to get to that area because it’s difficult to reach, given the amount of wind and rain that’s been falling,” he said.  

The tower is at the Avondale transmission station, he said. There is “widespread” damage on both the east and west bank of the river at this substation. The tower which collapsed is on the west bank, Valiente said. 

(WVUE)
(WVUE)

Two photos were sent to Jefferson County by a resident who saw the collapse. 

“In the first photograph you can see the tower in place, you can actually see it twisting… and the next photograph, the tower’s gone, so it just collapsed,” Valiente said.

The parish notified the Coast Guard immediately, as this will be a “salvage mission,” he said. “The lines have to be removed, of course the Coast Guard will oversee that process.” 

With the tower being down and the region being largely out of power, Valiente said “it's going to slow the recovery process down,” adding that “time’s not on our side here.” 

“Hurricanes find a way to find weaknesses in the system,” adding that each storm presents its own set of “difficulties and hazards,” he said. 

But Valiente said, “I’m as shocked as you are that this transmission tower fell.”  

8:56 a.m. ET, August 30, 2021

Tornadoes – a common companion of hurricanes – will also be a threat today

From CNN's Judson Jones

As Ida slowly drifts to the north, it will provide favorable atmospheric conditions for tornadoes to form. Those conditions will be most ideal on the right side of the storm, says CNN meteorologist Haley Brink.

The storm predictions center says there is a slight risk (level 2 of 5) of severe weather for tornado potential over the Central Gulf Coast parts through Tuesday morning.

A tornado watch has been issued for portions of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida that is in effect through the afternoon Monday.

8:49 a.m. ET, August 30, 2021

Tropical Storm Ida moving over southwestern Mississippi as flood threat continues in parts of Louisiana 

From CNN's Monica Garrett

Tropical Storm Ida now has sustained winds of 45 mph and is moving northward over southwestern Mississippi, with the center about 65 miles south-southwest of Jackson, Mississippi, according to the 8 a.m. ET update from the National Hurricane Center. 

Ida continues to pose a dangerous flash flood threat to portions of southeastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi and southern Alabama this morning.

Flash flood watches are posted for over 50 million people extending from Louisiana to West Virginia.

Where it may go next: Ida will move through central Mississippi this afternoon and is expected to pick up forward movement tonight as it tracks over northeastern Mississippi and then the Tennessee Valley on Tuesday.

8:49 a.m. ET, August 30, 2021

These images show Ida's damage in Louisiana's Lafourche parish

Damage in Lafourche Parish on Aug. 29, 2021.
Damage in Lafourche Parish on Aug. 29, 2021. Brian Emfinger/LSM

Ida made landfall Sunday with devastating force as a Category 4 hurricane Sunday. As the sun comes up in Louisiana, the first images of damage are coming through.

The below video from Lafourche Parish shows the devastation in the town.

Although Ida has now weakened to a tropical storm, its impact continues to be widespread this morning with tropical storm force winds, storm surge, and very heavy rainfall. 

WATCH:

8:14 a.m. ET, August 30, 2021

Louisiana governor urges residents to "please remain where you are"

From CNN’s Gregory Lemos

As the sun comes up over hurricane-battered Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards is urging residents to “please remain where you are.” 

“As the sun comes out this morning, please remain where you are. Ida has left many hazards across Louisiana including flooded roadways, debris & downed powerlines,” Edwards said in a tweet Monday.

Edwards asked those impacted to follow the instructions of local officials and continue to be vigilant as search and rescue efforts and damage assessment continues.  

8:08 a.m. ET, August 30, 2021

Power outage forced this Louisiana hospital to move patients to other sections via the stairwells

At the peak of Hurricane Ida on Sunday, a hospital under the Thibodaux Regional Health Systems experienced a scare. As the power went out, two of the hospital's five generators, that served its critical care areas, automatically stopped working.

As teams began to troubleshoot, the hospital staff resorted to drastic measures to be able to provide critical care to the patients, which also included Covid-19 patients.

"Moving patients down the stairwells is kind of one of the last things you want to do. But it was another section of the hospital in our operating rating room areas and recovery room areas ... that was functional. We got them there, we got all the equipment," CEO Greg Stock said, adding that all the patients are doing well.

That was not the only hospital impacted in the region. Two hospitals under the Ochsner Health System, for example, had roof and water leaks and dozens of patients at those facilities had to be relocated.