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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8:51 p.m. ET, August 30, 2021

Here's what you need to know about Ida as rescue efforts continue in Louisiana

From CNN's Jason Hanna and Madeline Holcombe

First responders rescue a resident from floodwater left behind by Hurricane Ida in LaPlace, Louisiana, on Monday, August 30.
First responders rescue a resident from floodwater left behind by Hurricane Ida in LaPlace, Louisiana, on Monday, August 30. (Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

Hurricane Ida has left catastrophic damage across southeastern Louisiana, killing at least one person, leaving much of the New Orleans area without power, interrupting phone service and sending rescuers scrambling Monday to flooded homes where people were anxiously asking for help.

Ida, now a slow-moving tropical storm over western Mississippi, threatens to cause more flooding not just in the Deep South but also into the Tennessee and Ohio valleys as it crawls north over the next few days.

Rescuers were getting numerous reports of people who climbed into attics or onto roofs as waters rose in their homes, especially in parishes just outside New Orleans. 

About 15 people were helped off roofs and into boats early Monday in the city of Slidell alone, and rescuers in high-water vehicles still were taking people to safety in the lower side of town in the late morning, Mayor Greg Cromer said.

Because cell phone service was sporadic in much of the region, rescuers sometimes were having to find for themselves who needed help.

"We've had some people that ... waded out (of neighborhoods) and flagged police officers down and told us what is going on," Cromer, whose city is northeast of New Orleans, told CNN on Monday morning.

"Seems like there's hundreds, possibly more, people trapped in their houses, with some extent of water — from a foot deep to people in the attics," Jordy Bloodsworth, fleet captain of the Louisiana Cajun Navy volunteer rescue group, told CNN earlier Monday morning.

Read more about rescue efforts here.

8:47 p.m. ET, August 30, 2021

Portions of St. Charles Parish "highly likely" to be without power for a month, officials say

From CNN’s Keith Allen

St. Charles Parish officials are asking residents who have evacuated from their homes ahead of Hurricane Ida to stay away from their homes for “a few more days” as streets remain lined with debris, trees, and downed power lines Monday night. 

A boil water advisory remains in effect for the entire southeastern Louisiana parish, and in a Facebook post Monday night, officials say they have “limited to no communications abilities."

Crews are working to restore water service on the parish’s east bank as early as Tuesday, and residents parish-wide are being asked to conserve water in the event firefighters need it to fight fires, according to the Facebook post.

Residents are asked to stay away from their homes, if possible, but when they do return, officials are asking them to be prepared to stay there for some time.

“If you evacuated and can stay in place for a few more days, we highly advise it. When you do return, you will need to bring everything you need for at least a week including food, ice, water, and fuel,” the statement continues. 

“It is highly likely that we will be without power for a month,” officials say.

St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne has also called a curfew from 8 p.m. local time until 5 a.m. local time, according to the statement.

8:43 p.m. ET, August 30, 2021

Entergy says Ida outages could last "more than three weeks"

From CNN's Dave Alsup

Entergy says it could take more than three weeks to restore electricity after Hurricane Ida.

“Based on historical restoration times, customers in the direct path of a storm as intense as Hurricane Ida could experience outages for more than three weeks. While 90% of customers will be restored sooner, customers in the hardest-hit areas should plan for the possibility of experiencing extended power outages," said Deanna Rodriguez, Entergy New Orleans president and CEO.

“This will be a marathon, not a sprint,” Rodriguez said. “We’re working as safely and quickly as we can, but recovery will vary depending on the damage incurred and its location. We must all be prepared for the recovery to take some time. While too early in the process to give approximate restoration times, our focus remains on getting the assessments completed so that we can begin to provide more guidance to customers as soon as possible. We appreciate our customer’s patience and will continue to provide updates as they become available.”

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

20 water rescues reported in 3 counties, Mississippi governor says

From CNN’s Keith Allen

Striking a cautiously optimistic tone, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves thanked residents for heeding warnings ahead of Hurricane Ida and asked for one more night of patience as the storm continues to move through the state.

Reeves expects the storm to make its way out of Mississippi by daybreak, and he urged residents who live north of Jackson to remain indoors with heavy rain and 35-40 mph winds still predicted for Monday night.

“I want to remind everyone that we are not completely out of the woods yet,” Reeves said.

“And so, while the winds have died down a bit from where they were when the storm entered our state, it is still a dangerous storm and we will still see significant amounts of rainfall over the next 12 hours,” he added.

There are still approximately 85,000 power outages throughout the state, down from 136,000 outages, and 19 shelters remain open, down from 28 earlier in the day, Reeves said.

Over the last 36 hours, approximately 20 water rescues were performed in Jackson, Harrison, and Hancock counties, but reports of damage so far have been light, the governor told reporters Monday.

Reeves also said that he authorized the release of federal assets earlier in the day on Monday, so that they may be deployed to harder-hit Louisiana.

“It was very clear and very evident that we could take care of ourselves, and when you're in a major hurricane of this magnitude, if you can take care of yourself at the local or the state level, it's imperative that you do the right thing and let the federal assets go to where they are most needed,” the governor said.

Jim Craig, senior deputy and director of the Mississippi Department of Health, also summarized the storm’s impact on the state’s vulnerable population.

Mississippi has four nursing homes that are running on generator power and two nursing homes that reported minor damage. Five hospital facilities are operating on a mixture of electric grid and generators, and six hospitals are reporting minor damage, Craig said.

Two assisted living facilities are without power Monday afternoon and three such facilities are currently operating on generators, Craig added.

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

Nearly 800 people rescued in St. John the Baptist Parish

From CNN's Raja Razak

St. John the Baptist Parish rescue teams place a person onto the back of a truck during an evacuation on the morning after Hurricane Ida hit the area, Monday, August 30, in St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana.
St. John the Baptist Parish rescue teams place a person onto the back of a truck during an evacuation on the morning after Hurricane Ida hit the area, Monday, August 30, in St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana. (Chris Granger/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate/AP)

St. John the Baptist Parish president Jaclyn Hotard said nearly 800 people were rescued, and approximately 18,000 residents remain without power, calling it "a parish-wide disaster."

"This is the first time in about a 24-hour period that we've been able to make phone calls, be able to get on the internet, check email. All of our communication systems had failed. Even the backups that we had to our communication systems failed, and those backups to the backups failed. So we were pretty much cut off from any communication," Hotard said during a news conference on Monday.

"We have worked tirelessly through the night with our rescue efforts. We are quickly moving into recovery as we still continue to rescue individuals. There were almost 800 people that were actually rescued," she added. "We have about 18,000 residents still without power in St. John. We've experienced 17 inches of rain and five feet of storm surge, and this system sat over St. John for hours ... Devastating winds for hours. This is one of the worst natural disasters I've ever seen in St. John."

Hotard urged residents to remain safe when traveling on roads, saying there are many roads blocked due to downed trees and power lines.

At this time, there are no reported storm-related deaths, according to Hotard. St. John the Baptist Parish will be under a curfew beginning 6 p.m. local time Monday to 7 a.m. local time Tuesday.

6:38 p.m. ET, August 30, 2021

Tulane University in Louisiana cancels classes and evacuates students

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

Tulane University in Louisiana is closing its campus and canceling all classes through Sept. 12, the university announced on Twitter

Undergraduate, in-residence and off-campus students will be transported by bus to Houston, Texas, on Tuesday morning.

The university is establishing a hub in Houston to provide food and accommodations until students can find flights home, the announcement said.

6:01 p.m. ET, August 30, 2021

Second storm-related death reported in Louisiana following Hurricane Ida

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

The Louisiana Department of Health on Monday evening confirmed a second storm-related death due to Hurricane Ida in Louisiana.

According to the Department of Health, the death is a man who drowned after attempting to drive his vehicle through floodwater near I-10 and West End Boulevard in New Orleans.

The man’s age is unknown at this time, the department said, adding that the coroner does consider the death to be storm-related.

5:49 p.m. ET, August 30, 2021

About 1.1 million customers still without power in Louisiana

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Members of the Louisiana State Fire Marshal's office rescue people from floodwaters in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in New Orleans, Louisiana, Monday, August 30.
Members of the Louisiana State Fire Marshal's office rescue people from floodwaters in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in New Orleans, Louisiana, Monday, August 30. (Gerald Herbert/AP)

Around 1.1 million customers in Louisiana are still without power today, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Monday evening.

“Electricity is practically non-existent for most people in Southeast Louisiana,” the governor said, adding that there are 25,000 lineman in the state working to restore power now.

“First of all we really need our hospitals, more than anything else, to come back up, so that people who are in ICU rooms and on ventilators and so forth can continue to receive the life-saving care that they need,” Edwards said. “That's important all the time. It's certainly important, even more so, because of the Covid situation.”

“I have to keep reminding people that whether we like it or not, we're still in the Covid environment. It’s a very difficult Covid environment, where 100% of our cases today are attributable to the Delta,” the governor said. 

According to the governor, three hospitals across the state have already been evacuated, with a fourth hospital, Terrebonne General Health System in Houma, in the process of being evacuated Monday evening.

Edwards confirmed there has been one storm-related death, a 60-year-old man from Ascension Parish who died after a tree fell on his home.

According to the governor, there are currently also 18 water system outages impacting more than 312,000 people, and 14 boil water advisories impacting more than 329,000 people across Louisiana.

“There are certainly more questions than answers. I can't tell you when the power is going to be restored and tell you when all the debris is going to be cleaned up, and repairs made, and so forth. But what I can tell you, is that we're going to work hard every single day to deliver as much assistance as we possibly can,” Edwards said.

5:21 p.m. ET, August 30, 2021

A tornado warning has been issued for parts of 2 Alabama counties

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

Auburn University in Alabama has advised its main campus community to seek shelter immediately, citing a tornado warning,

tornado warning by the National Weather Service remains in effect until 4:30 p.m local time for central Lee and northeastern Macon counties.

The NWS advises residents to take immediate cover, “move to a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building,” avoid windows for those who are outdoors, in a mobile home or vehicle to find shelter and guard against flying debris.