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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9:18 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. 


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. 


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.

7:45 a.m. ET, August 30, 2021

Jefferson Parish deputies are back on the streets patrolling

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

Deputies in Jefferson Parish "have returned to the streets and are currently patrolling and trying to determine the accessibility of our roadways," according to a post on Facebook.

As daylight breaks in the region, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office is asking "everyone to remain sheltered at this time as unnecessary travel is dangerous given the current roadway conditions."

At least one bridge in Lafitte suffered damage from Ida and residents should not drive on it, the parish said.

"The Kerner Swing Bridge in Lafitte was hit by a barge," the post says. "We do not believe it is structurally safe."

The Sheriff’s Office says "multiple cellular service providers" are having a hard time routing 911 calls.

Late on Sunday, the Jefferson Parish Water Department announced a boil water advisory for the entire East Bank of Jefferson Parish, after a loss of pressure in the distribution system, their Facebook page said.

7:41 a.m. ET, August 30, 2021

Hurricane Ida was so strong it reversed the Mississippi River's direction of flow

From CNN's Brandon Miller

Storm surge and strong winds from Hurricane Ida stopped the flow of the Mississippi River near New Orleans on Sunday and actually caused it to reverse.

The US Geological Survey says that it is "extremely uncommon."

Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, early Sunday afternoon as an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane with winds of 150 mph, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. The hurricane arrived on the 16th anniversary of the historically devastating Hurricane Katrina.

"I remember, off hand, that there was some flow reversal of the Mississippi River during Hurricane Katrina, but it is extremely uncommon," Scott Perrien, a supervising hydrologist with the USGS Lower Mississippi Gulf Water Science Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, told CNN.

Perrien noted that the river level on Sunday rose about seven feet due to storm surge pushing up the river at the USGS gauge, located in Belle Chasse, about 20 miles south of New Orleans in southeastern Louisiana.

"During that time, the flow of the river slowed from about 2 feet per second down to about half a foot per second in the other direction," Perrien said.

Perrien pointed out that the gauge does not measure the flow of the entire river, so it is possible that the deeper portions of the river did not reverse flow directions.

Read the full story here.

7:39 a.m. ET, August 30, 2021

FEMA administrator: There could not have been a worse path for this storm

Assessment teams await daylight to go on the ground to inspect damages caused by Ida, but significant impact is already expected, FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell said.

"It remained a Category 4 for several hours over the southern parts of Louisiana. So they just got the impacts from the winds, from the significant and intense rainfall as well as that storm surge for several hours," Criswell told CNN.

"I don't think there could have been a worse path for this storm. It's going to have some significant impacts. We're already seeing the power outages across the area and the threat isn't over," she added.

As Ida moves as a Category 1 storm into Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia, Criswell said there's still going to be significant rainfall, and people need to remain aware of the risks.

Meanwhile, "widespread structural damage" has already been reported, with a number of buildings that may have collapsed, hospitals running on generator power, and some people stranded, she said Monday.

"My initial reports are the levees around New Orleans did what they were supposed to do, but that intense rainfall, that's going to create a lot of urban flooding across many of the jurisdictions — New Orleans, Baton Rouge and all of the different localities in between. " Criswell said. "It's going to strain the drainage system. That with the debris, so it's going to take a while for some of that to clear up."