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.
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.”