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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1:24 p.m. ET, August 30, 2021

Children's Hospital New Orleans running on back-up power, doctor says

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Children's Hospital New Orleans is running on back-up power after being impacted by Hurricane Ida, said Dr. Mark Kline, physician-in-chief and chief academic officer of the hospital.

"We've been on back-up power for about 12 hours now. And that provides adequate power to all of the patient care areas, the nonessential areas of the hospital are dark," Kline told CNN's Kate Bolduan.

Kline added that while the hospital building didn't "suffer any major structural damage," the building did have some "water intrusion" on the ground floor, including in a new, $300 million addition to the hospital which just opened two days before the hurricane hit.

"We also had water coming in through the roof in several locations. We lost some flashing off the roof. We didn't suffer any major structural damage at all. So we've got some repairs to make. But, the good news is that all of the children were safe and sound inside of the hospital through the hurricane. We had a team of professionals locked in the building with them taking care of them and everyone came through in good shape," Kline said.

Kline said the hospital is concerned about "power situation" in New Orleans.

"We have fuel for back-up generators for the next few days and we think we'll be able to get more fuel here at the hospital. But that probably is the number one concern for us at this moment," he said.

Kline also expressed how the hurricane added more of a toll to the hospital after summer dealing with Covid-19 cases.

"The hurricane hit New Orleans following a 'tough'" summer for the hospital, Kline said.

"We've had a tough stretch here. We've had a summer of virus infections. First RSV and then Covid-19 and our nurse and doctors are exhausted, frankly. July was the busiest month in the history of the hospital... in terms of number of patients admitted to the hospital and to our intensive care units and through our emergency department. And so everyone already was really tested physically and emotionally. And the last thing in the world that we needed was a Category 4 hurricane," he said.

12:41 p.m. ET, August 30, 2021

Ida may push gas prices even higher

From CNN's Chris Isidore

Hurricane Ida's direct hit on the nation's oil and gasoline industry could send gas prices higher, exacerbating inflation that's already hurting American consumers.

But how much prices will increase, and for how long, will depend on the extent of the damage. The storm hit Louisiana and the Gulf Coast on Sunday, killing at least one person and knocking out power for more than 1 million customers. 

The price of a gallon of regular gas stood at $3.15 Monday, according AAA, up only a fraction of a penny from the previous day's average, and down 1 cent from a week ago. But wholesale gasoline futures were about 5 cents higher in early trading Monday. They were up as much as 10 cents a gallon in Sunday night trading, suggesting retail prices could soon follow suit. 

More than 95% of US oil production at offshore platforms and rigs in the Gulf of Mexico were shut down ahead of Hurricane Ida, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the federal regulator overseeing those facilities. They will remain shut until further notice, said Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for the Oil Price Information Service, which tracks prices for AAA. 

Louisiana is home to three of the nation's seven largest refineries, and accounts for 17.5% of the nation's overall refining capacity at its 15 refineries, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Another concern is that major pipelines carrying gas, diesel and jet fuel from the Gulf Coast to other states were also shut as a precaution ahead of the storm. The shutdown of one of those, the Colonial Pipeline, after a computer hack earlier this year, caused price spikes and gasoline shortages along parts of the East Coast.

Although the flow of oil from offshore platforms and rigs was expected to return to normal within a few days, flooding or prolonged power outages could keep the refineries and pipelines offline, which could also push gasoline prices up, Kloza said. 

12:39 p.m. ET, August 30, 2021

Louisiana State Police to stranded residents: "It may be difficult to get help to you for quite some time"

From CNN’s Gregory Lemos

Louisiana State Police told residents stranded in the wake of Hurricane Ida, “it may be difficult to get help to you for quite some time.”

“If you are stranded, it may be difficult to get help to you for quite some time,” state police said in a Facebook post Monday noting that communication is very limited in certain impacted areas.

While troopers continue assisting in clearing roadways, “the full extent of damage is yet to be seen.” 

Search and rescue workers are still not able to access certain impacted areas, the post said.

“A large portion of travel routes are blocked by downed trees and power lines. In addition, there is standing water in some areas which can deteriorate roads and sweep vehicles away. Debris is also scattered throughout the area, which can make navigating our roadways very difficult,” state police said.  

Louisiana State Police requested residents refrain from traveling “as it is these dangerous conditions that can create additional emergencies that could be prevented.”

12:33 p.m. ET, August 30, 2021

It's almost noon along the Gulf Coast. Here's what you need to know as rescue efforts continue.

Highway 51 is flooded after Hurricane Ida struck LaPlace, Louisiana.
Highway 51 is flooded after Hurricane Ida struck LaPlace, Louisiana. (Mickey Welsh/Montgomery Advertiser/USA Today Network via Reuters)

It's almost noon in New Orleans and Ida remains a tropical storm, dumping rain as it heads inland.

Right now, one person is confirmed dead, but Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said that as search and rescue efforts get underway, he “fully expects the death count will go up considerably throughout the day.”

Here's what you need to know this afternoon.

Damage:

  • The amount of debris and standing water is making it difficult for first responders to access the hardest hit areas. Phone lines and other communication are currently down in several parts of the state.
  • Almost all of southeast Louisiana is without power and that all eight major transmission lines that feed electricity into the greater New Orleans area have failed. Some officials in the city said it could be "weeks" before it is restored and they are working to get vulnerable people to safe places.
  • Louisiana State Troopers spokesperson Lt. Melissa Matey said people need to stay home while they work to clear roads across the state. They are seeing a lot of downed trees and power lines as well as damaged roofs and vehicles and flooded homes.

Rescue efforts:

  • The governor told the residents of Louisiana that cleanup “is going to be a fairly long ordeal" and the state has deployed “thousands of people” to help with search and rescue efforts.
  • Slidell, Louisiana, Mayor Greg Cromer said there is water in "every neighborhood in town" and local officials had to deploy boats to conduct water rescues early this morning.

Federal help:

  • The US Coast Guard conducted overflights near Galliano, Louisiana, to identify hazards and assess damage in the area following Ida's landfall.
  • 5,200 National Guard personnel are being activated in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama to help with the aftermath.

Coming up: President Biden is poised to speak later this afternoon on Ida relief efforts, a White House official tells CNN.

How you can help: Aid workers are on the ground helping with recovery. You can make a difference through the organizations listed here.

12:20 p.m. ET, August 30, 2021

40% of AT&T's wireless network in Louisiana is down 

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

AT&T says Hurricane Ida had a significant impact on its wireless networks in Louisiana, with only 60% of it operating normally.

The company says that power outages and storm damage are the cause of the decreased service.

"Our Louisiana wireless network is operating at 60% of normal and we have significant outages in New Orleans and Baton Rouge due to power outages, flooding and storm damage," the company said in a news release. "We had key network facilities go offline overnight, and while some have already been restored, some facilities remain down and are inaccessible due to flooding and storm damage."

The company says their Network Disaster Recovery teams are currently, "working to gain access to these locations as soon as possible to restore services."

CNN is owned by AT&T.

12:11 p.m. ET, August 30, 2021

Official track forecasts for Hurricane Ida were accurate, CNN analysis shows

From CNN's Brandon Miller

(CNN)
(CNN)

A CNN analysis of every official forecast for Hurricane Ida from the National Hurricane Center shows that the center’s forecasts for the storm were significantly better than average.

All forecasts showed the storm making a landfall in south-central to southeastern Louisiana. 

Forecast tracks for the storm began on Thursday morning, more than 72 hours in advance of the eventual landfall of the storm. 

A total of 14 forecasts tracks were put out by the NHC between Thursday and Sunday morning. All of them showed landfall less than 50 miles from the actual landfall location of Port Fourchon, Louisiana.  

The first track issued showed the greatest error in distance, showing landfall about 45 miles west of Port Fourchon. The average track error from the NHC at 72-hours lead-time is 96 miles, meaning the forecast showed less than half of the average error for a three-day tropical cyclone forecast. The 48-hour forecast was also nearly half the average error, showing a landfall roughly 35 miles from Port Fourchon (the average error at 48-hours is 65 miles).

12:10 p.m. ET, August 30, 2021

Texas governor deploys firefighters, helicopters, and additional emergency resources to Louisiana

From CNN’s Carma Hassan

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the state is sending 132 firefighters, 30 fire engines, 14 crew members, and a helicopter to Louisiana in order to assist with response and recovery efforts.

Texas A&M Task Force One is also providing urban search and rescue capabilities in Louisiana, the governor said in a statement.

"The State of Texas is proud to support our neighbors in Louisiana by sending emergency resources and personnel to assist with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida," Abbott said.

"We will never forget the kindness, generosity, and support offered by the people of Louisiana during Hurricane Harvey four years ago, and we are eager to support them in their own time of need," the statement continued.

12:04 p.m. ET, August 30, 2021

New Orleans residents should be prepared to be in the dark for "weeks," city councilman says

One official in New Orleans says people should prepare for power to be out for weeks, something he called the "worst case scenario."

Joe Giarrusso, a city council member, said power companies have been telling city officials that it could be as soon as few days, but he thinks that estimate is "optimistic."

"I think we have to be realistic at the same time and prepare people for a worst case scenario just like Hurricane Laura and Lake Charles where it took weeks," Giarrusso told CNN on Monday.

He said long-term power outages are not just inconvenient, but dangerous. Giarrusso said the area is in the middle of summer weather, and while the storm cooled down temperatures, the humidity is still very high.

"One of the things that we're going to have to think there, and I'm sure the city is working on right now, is for people who may not have the means, how could we get them to where they need to be so they are safe," he said.

Giarrusso said it also means there are a lot of things that people might want to do that they can't – like cleaning out their refrigerator, going to the grocery store to get food, or just getting a cup of coffee.

"Being without power is not just a slight inconvenience, but it is a major fact in quality of life and how we deal with it to improve it as quickly as possible," he said.

12:01 p.m. ET, August 30, 2021

Ida remains a tropical storm, but is "winding down," CNN meteorologist says

From CNN's Chad Myers

Mapbox/CNN
Mapbox/CNN

Ida remains a tropical storm as it heads inland, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers reports.

The storm should be offshore by Thursday into Friday, Myers says.

"This thing is winding down and that's the good news. It is not winding down when it comes to rainfall. Tropical-like rains where you walk outside and you could be wet in a minute, that is how hard these areas are seeing the rainfall. We've had a couple of tornado warnings earlier today. But the tornado watch has been posted until 4 and we're not seeing anything rotating at this hour. There goes the storm offshore by Thursday into Friday and long, long gone. But we're still going to see areas with four to six inches of rain far from where this made landfall, so we may see some flash flooding," he says.