Ida Live Updates: Hurricane Downgraded to Tropical Storm, at Least Two Dead

Live Updates

Over a million people have been left without power and at least two have died as Ida continues its destructive journey across Louisiana and Mississippi Monday.

Ida landed in the U.S. on Sunday as a Category 4 hurricane, immediately swamping the barrier island of Grand Isle and ripping off roofs on buildings around Port Fourchon.

Parishes and counties across Louisiana and Mississippi could experience water shortages and power outages for days after fallen trees and high waters damaged power lines. Officials in New Orleans and Lafourche Parish told evacuees to not return until further notice.

"There is widespread debris, power remains out, and emergency services are working to respond to those still in the city," NOLA Ready, the city of New Orleans emergency preparedness camping said. "We will let you know when it is safe to come home."

Ida has now been downgraded to a tropical storm but it is expected to bring heavy rain, flooding and high winds through Appalachia to the mid-Atlantic into the middle of the week. Tornado watches are in effect across Alabama, western Florida panhandle and southeast Mississippi. One tornado already ripped up a motel in Saraland, Alabama Monday afternoon.

FEMA and more than 5,000 National Guard members from several states have convened on the Gulf Coast to assist with search and rescue efforts and to help restore services and clear debris.

During a press briefing Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called the damage from Ida along the Gulf Coast "catastrophic" and said it could be weeks before power services and roadways are back up and running.

The live updates for this blog have ended.

KEY MOMENTS

Down Power Lines Kenner, LA
A woman looks over damage to a neighborhood caused by Hurricane Ida on August 30, 2021 in Kenner, Louisiana. Ida made landfall yesterday as a category 4 storm southwest of New Orleans. Scott Olson/Getty Images

President Biden calls states impacted by Ida "resilient"

President Joe Biden spoke with officials in states impacted by Hurricane Ida.

During the calls, Biden detailed federal efforts to survey damage and ensure access to electricity, water and cell phone service, the Associated Press reported.

The president said Monday that state officials should contact the White House if they need additional support — even though the effort is being led by FEMA.

"We'll get you what you need if we can," Biden said. "The people of Louisiana and Mississippi are resilient. But it's in moments like these where we can certainly see the power of government to respond to the needs of the people, if government's prepared and if they respond."

During a press briefing Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called the damage from Ida along the Gulf Coast "catastrophic" and said it could be weeks before power services and roadways are back up and running.

"This will be a lengthy whole of government and whole of community response and recovery effort," Psaki said.

Images shows damage from Ida's aftermath

These images depicting storm surge, flooding and building damage from Hurricane Ida in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Hurricane Ida could drive up gas prices

Drivers should expect to see a jump in gas prices as Hurricane Ida disrupts Gulf Coast oil operations.

The Gulf Coast is full of oil rigs and refiners that produce a large share of the nation's fuel supply chain. Ida has shut down oil production and which will likely lead to a 10 to 20 cent increase at the pump.

"Drivers will almost assuredly see gas prices rise this week, because of Hurricane Ida's effects on the Gulf Coast," Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for the American Automobile Association (AAA), said in a statement.

"Based on overnight movement in the futures market, a 10-20 cent jump at the pump is not out of the question," Jenkins added. "Where gas prices go from here will depend on the extent of the damage and how long it will take for fuel production and transportation lines to return to normal."

AAA also noted that refineries in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama make up more than 45 percent of the country's capacity for refining crude oil into gasoline. The area is also the site of 2,000 offshore oil platforms, which produce 17 percent of the nation's crude oil.

READ MORE: "Hurricane Ida Could Drive Up Gas Prices After Almost All Gulf Oil Production Shuts Down"

Tornado touches down in Alabama

The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed a tornado touched down in Alabama Monday.

The tornado hit Saraland, a town about 12 miles north of Mobile, at around 12:40 p.m. local time. The Plantation Motel along highway 43 was among the businesses hit.

WATCH: Tornado touches down in Saraland Alabama

More video: https://t.co/WLqq1BSKwV pic.twitter.com/7FZbEKuvTE

— NBC 15 News (@mynbc15) August 30, 2021

There are tornado watches in Clarke and Wilcox Counties through Monday afternoon, according to the NWS Mobile station.

Tornado watches are also in effect across the western Florida panhandle and southeast Mississippi.

The threat for a couple of tornadoes continues to the east of tropical cyclone Ida this afternoon across southwest AL, the western FL Panhandle, and extreme southeast MS. A Tornado Watch is in effect until 4 PM CDT. Additional tornado watches are possible this afternoon/evening. pic.twitter.com/ltEAAsiJlJ

— NWS Storm Prediction Center (@NWSSPC) August 30, 2021

Historic jazz site now in ruins after Hurricane Ida swept through New Orleans

A historic jazz building in New Orleans was destroyed by Hurricane Ida.

The Karnofsky Tailor Shop was a historic national landmark where Louis Armstrong worked before he began his legendary jazz career.

The store was opened in 1913 by the Karnofsky family. They hired Armstrong to work on their coal and junk wagons, but they also provided a second home for him. He would often eat meals with them, and they also loaned him money for his first cornet, helping to launch his career, according to National Park Service.

The Louis Armstrong House Museum described it as "heartbreaking" on Twitter.

The historic Karnofsky Shop is now completely reduced to rubble here along Poydras Street. We’re told it was the first jazz record store in the city. Right next door, the side wall of the Little Gem Saloon has collapsed. Widespread damage across #NOLA. #HurricaneIda #Aftermath pic.twitter.com/LTphbCrmiJ

— Shay O'Connor (@SOCONNORNEWS) August 30, 2021

READ MORE: "Historic New Orleans Jazz Site Karnofsky Shop Destroyed by Hurricane Ida"

Hurricane Ida death toll at two people, expected to "go up considerably"

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell confirmed a person has died during Hurricane Ida, bringing the death toll to two.

Cantrell said a driver in New Orleans drowned during the hurricane.

"This case remains under investigation," coroner's spokesman Jason Melancon to the Associated Press.

He would not answer specific questions about whether the coroner's office is investigating a drowning death or an Ida-related death.

Another person was killed outside Baton Rouge when a tree fell on a home, authorities reported.

Earlier Monday, Louisiana Governor John Bell Edwards warned that the death toll following Ida will "go up considerably."

Images of majoring flooding in the wake of Hurricane Ida

Heavy rainfall and storm surges from Hurricane Ida caused major flooding across Louisiana and Mississippi.

The high waters covered roadways, damaged buildings and left many people trapped inside their homes.

Ida Flooding Biloxi
Two men help a stranded motorist in floodwaters on Beach Blvd. on August 30, 2021 in Biloxi, Mississippi. Tropical Storm Ida made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane yesterday in Louisiana and brought flooding and wind damage along the Gulf Coast. Sean Rayford/Getty Images
Ida Flooding Destrehan
A truck drives through high water near Highway 61 in Destrehan, Louisiana, on August 30, 2021 after Hurricane Ida made landfall. Powerful Hurricane Ida battered the southern US state of Louisiana, leaving at least one dead and knocking out power for more than a million people, including the whole of New Orleans. Ida slammed into the Louisiana coast as a Category 4 storm on August 29, 2021. PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images
Ida Flooding Kenner
Michelle Washington and her sons Kendrick (R) and Kayden check out damage to their home in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida on August 30, 2021 in Kenner, Louisiana. Ida made landfall yesterday as a category 4 storm southwest of New Orleans. Scott Olson/Getty Images

READ MORE: "Photos of Hurricane Ida's Devastation and Flooding in Louisiana"

New Orleans airport expects to cancel flights Monday

The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is currently conducting damage assessments in the wake of Hurrican Ida.

The airport said it expects all flights will be canceled Monday, but told passengers to check directly with their airlines for more information.

#HurricaneIda Update: MSY is currently conducting a thorough damage assessment. We expect all flights to be cancelled today, but recommend that passengers check directly with their airlines for the most accurate flight info. More details to be provided when they become available.

— New Orleans Airport (@flyneworleans) August 30, 2021

Flooding and heavy rainfall expected as Ida moves east

Even though Ida was downgraded to a Tropical Storm, flooding, high winds and storm surge risks continue as the storm moves inland towards the east coast of the country.

Storm surge inundation will continue Monday along the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama, according to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center.

Additional flooding is likely in the Tennessee Valley, the Ohio Valley and areas in the Central and Southern Appalachians into the Mid-Atlantic through Wednesday.

Tornado warnings and heavy rainfall up to 8 inches are possible in some areas, according to the Weather Channel.

Tornadoes, flash floods, and damaging winds continue to be a threat as #Ida moves farther inland. Today through midweek, areas of impact include the Deep South, Tennessee valley, central Appalachians, and parts of the Northeast.

Watch our live coverage for all the details. pic.twitter.com/HFzj6xxMhr

— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) August 30, 2021

READ MORE: "Hurricane Ida Path: Downgraded Tropical Storm's Winds, Rain Head for Over a Dozen States"

Former FEMA official warns of health risks after Ida has passed

Former FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate warns that prolonged power and water outages in the wake of Hurricane Ida can lead to serious health and safety risk.

"The risk of serious injury and death doesn't go down just because the storm has passed," he told The Weather Channel.

Carbon monoxide posing is a major risk if people do not run their generators properly, Fugate said. He advises people to keep generators outside.

"Don't run your generator in your home, your garage, your carport. Have it away from your home," he said.

Generators can be helpful if the power goes out, but they can also be dangerous if not used properly. Remember to follow all manufacturer safety instructions, and never use a generator indoors! #HurricanePrep #lawx #mswx pic.twitter.com/WsmIk3NhyG

— NWS New Orleans (@NWSNewOrleans) May 15, 2021

Additionally, he urges people impacted by the storm to take proper safety precautions amid the summer heat and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"If you're somewhere safe, stay home and stay inside," Fugate said. "We don't need to be adding trauma patients to already overloaded hospitals with COVID patience."

Flood Protection Agency reports no breaches from levee system

The Flood Protection Authority said that there were no levee breaches or overtopping within the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS).

After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, this system of barriers, sector gates, floodwalls, floodgates and levees provide a veritable "wall" around East Jefferson, Orleans and St. Bernard Parishes, according to the Flood Protection Agency.

The $14.5 billion system was engineered to the 100-year level of risk reduction against tropical events and related rainfall and storm surges.

"There have been no issues with our pumps," the agency said in a statement. "We will be inspecting the system today and assessing any damages as soon as conditions allow."

There were no levee breaches or overtopping within the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS).There have been no issues with our pumps. We will be inspecting the system today and assessing any damages as soon as conditions allow.

— Flood Protection Authority (@SLFPAE) August 30, 2021

Major flooding in LaPlace, Louisiana

The town of LaPlace, located in St. John the Baptist Parish in Louisiana, was devastated by Hurricane Ida as high floodwaters leave many stranded in their homes.

#Ida may be weakening in winds but the rain and flooding remains. Reports of people having to evacuate to their roofs as water levels rise. #Lousiana #Laplace https://t.co/yNIeLaaJKu

— Dr. Athena Masson (@Wx_Goddess) August 30, 2021

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development shared images of major flooding on I-10 near the LaPlace exit.

Water on I-10 at exit 209 in Laplace. pic.twitter.com/Q6oK4wmKGg

— Louisiana DOTD (@La_DOTD) August 30, 2021

More than 5,000 National Guard members to assist in Hurricane Ida efforts

The U.S. National Guard deployed almost 5,300 members from four states to assist with rescue and relief efforts in Louisiana and Mississippi in the wake of Hurricane Ida.

There are about 5,000 members from the Louisiana National Guard and the rest are from Guard units in Mississippi, Alabama and Texas, the National Guard said in a statement.

The Louisiana National Guard has 195 high-water vehicles, 73 rescue boats and 34 helicopters ready to help search and rescue and evacuations.

Engineer work teams in three Louisiana parishes will also asses possibly compromised infrastructure and post-storm debris removal and road clearance if needed.

"Hurricane Ida packed a very powerful punch," Louisiana Governor says

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards released a video statement to his constituents in the wake of Hurricane Ida.

"Hurricane Ida packed a very powerful punch," he said. "It did everything that was advertised."

While Edwards said the state's levees "performed extremely well," but there was significant damage from wind, rain and storm surges that caused power and water outages and damage to homes and buildings.

He assured Louisiana residents that "thousands" of state and local safety officials are out with boats and helicopters to facilitate search and reuse operations.

"We will do everything we can to get to individuals who need help," Edwards said.

He added that the state is in "life-saving mode" and rescue operations are the top priority right now.

"This is going to be a very long ordeal," he said, referring to getting services restored and structures repaired.

A message to Louisiana in the wake of #HurricaneIda. #lagov #Ida pic.twitter.com/3JfJFEbFxr

— John Bel Edwards (@LouisianaGov) August 30, 2021

Reentry into Lafourche Parish delayed due to unsafe road conditions

Reentry will be delayed in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana for up to a week due to "conditions created by Hurricane Ida," parish officials said in a statement.

"Lafourche Parish roads are currently unpassable and will be for some time," the statement said.

Local officials ask that residents "wait for the all-clear before returning" and remind residents that the curfew remains in effect until officials can ensure roads are clear and safe for travel.

High winds and flash flood warnings in effect across Mississippi

Parts of Mississippi are experiencing damaging wind guts up to 45-65 mph, resulting in numerous power outages, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) station in Jackson.

There are already several reports of downed trees impacting powerlines in Lincoln and Rankin counties.

NWS Jackson also forecasts up to 4-8 inches of rainfall, flash flooding and possible tornadoes as Tropical Storm Ida moves across the state through Tuesday.

A flash flood warning is in effect for Southern Rankin and Smith counties through 12:15, NWS Jackson reported.

Tropical Storm #Ida-Updates:
*Damaging wind gusts up to 45-65mph, resulting in numerous power outages
*Flash flooding, up to 4-8 inches of rain, w/ locally higher amounts, mainly E of I-55
*Tornadoes possible, along & E of I-55 & especially into the I-59 corridor #mswx #lawx pic.twitter.com/jf7keQsF32

— NWS Jackson MS (@NWSJacksonMS) August 30, 2021

Ida reached 172 mph wind gusts in Louisiana

The National Weather Service (NWS) office in New Orleans confirmed extremely high winds in Port Fourchon, Louisiana.

A ship docked in Port Fourchon recorded maximum sustained winds of 149 mph and a wind gust of 172 mph Sunday.

On the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, a Category 4 hurricane typically has sustained winds of about 130-156 mph.

Ida is tied for the fifth strongest hurricane to make landfall in U.S. history.

Here is the observation we received. pic.twitter.com/rJiCpJ9Kmg

— NWS New Orleans (@NWSNewOrleans) August 30, 2021

Over 1.17 million people without power in two states

Over 1.17 million people are without power Monday morning due to Hurricane Ida.

There are over 1,042,000 outages in Louisiana and almost 131,000 outages in Mississippi as of 7:30 a.m. Monday, according to PowerOutage.us.

This morning over 1.17 million electric customers are without power due to #HurricaneIda, with 14 counties over 80% out.
Check out https://t.co/SWmJJoW5GD for current #PowerOutage data.
[2021-08-30 7:37 AM CDT] pic.twitter.com/klKWukuGhL

— PowerOutage.us (@PowerOutage_us) August 30, 2021

1,600 personnel sent to conduct search and rescue efforts cross Louisiana

Lousiana has deployed more than 1,600 personnel to conduct search and rescue operations across the state Monday morning, Lousiana Governor Bel Edwards said in a tweet.

This includes the Louisiana National Guard and local safety officials.

Early this morning Guardsmen begin search and rescue missions with other local and state agencies in Laplace during the aftermath from Hurricane #Ida. @GOHSEP @LouisianaGov pic.twitter.com/GM8d4DyiS0

— LA National Guard (@LANationalGuard) August 30, 2021

Louisiana governor tells people to 'remain where you are'

Gov. John Bel Edwards warned that hazards continue to exist across the state after it was devastated by Ida

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. Follow the instructions of local officials & continue to be safe. #lagov #HurricaneIda

— John Bel Edwards (@LouisianaGov) August 30, 2021

'A lot of cell phones are down' in New Orleans - reports

A Fox News reporter in New Orleans claims many people are struggling to contact friends, colleagues, and relatives as mobile networks get hit by Tropical Storm Ida.

HEADS UP: If anyone is trying to reach family or friends and they aren’t answering….be aware a lot of cell phones are down. My AT&T phone is down. Verizon seems to be the only provider working, at least in the New Orleans area. #ida #HurricaneIda #idahurricane #Hurricane_Ida

— Jeff Paul (@Jeff_Paul) August 30, 2021

'God please send help to LaPlace, Louisiana'

Cries for help poured out of the area when floodwater up to 10ft devastated it throughout Sunday night and into this morning.

Many people took to social media for assistance, posting their addresses in the hope that someone nearby could rescue them as their homes became rapidly submerged in water.

"God please send help to LaPlace, Louisiana. They need help," one person tweeted.

Another said: "I've never been to Laplace, Louisiana, but my heart goes out them tonight. All I see on my TL (timeline) are requests for help. God, be with them."

READ MORE: LaPlace Residents Beg For Help With Unforeseen Rising Waters

National Hurricane Centre downgrades Ida to tropical storm

Tropical Storm #Ida Advisory 17: Ida Now a Tropical Storm Over Southwestern Mississippi. Dangerous Storm Surge, Damaging Winds, and Flash Flooding Continue Over Portions of Southeastern Louisiana and Southern Mississippi. https://t.co/VqHn0u1vgc

— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) August 30, 2021

Heavy rainfall moves to Mississippi and Alabama

A MODERATE risk is in effect in our Day 1 Excessive Rainfall Outlook. More details: https://t.co/FQU5sb4jjg pic.twitter.com/c4pWIOpqTE

— NWS Weather Prediction Center (@NWSWPC) August 30, 2021

'Life-threatening flash flooding' warnings issued for 19 parishes and cities

The alert from the National Weather Service covers the following areas in Louisiana from around 3am to 8am CDT:

  • Amite
  • Amite City
  • Angie
  • Bogalusa
  • Bush
  • Darlington
  • Easleyville
  • Enon
  • Folsom
  • Franklinton
  • Greensburg
  • Independence
  • Kentwood
  • Mount Herman
  • Osyka
  • Roseland
  • Sun
  • Tangipahoa
  • Varnado
  • Wilmer

911 in New Orleans 'experiencing technical difficulties'

The Emergency Communications Center for the city is telling people to go to emergency services buildings in person to get help.

At this time, 9-1-1 is experiencing technical difficulties.
If you find yourself in an emergency, please go to your nearest fire station or approach your nearest officer. We will update you once this issue has been resolved. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/BE2AxwFuDa

— OPCD911 (@opcd911) August 30, 2021

Louisiana Governor: 'We are going to get through this'

John Bel Edwards warned that rescue crews would not be able to immediately help those stranded as the storm rages on, suggesting it could take weeks to recover from the damage.

Many, many people are going to be tested in ways that we can only imagine today. There is always light after darkness, and I can assure you we are going to get through this.

At least one death related to Ida

Deputies with the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office responded to a report of someone injured by a fallen tree at a home in Prairieville outside Baton Rouge and confirmed one death.

The office did not identify the victim but we will bring you the latest as we hear it.

Good morning and welcome to Newsweek's liveblog

Millions are preparing to be hit by Hurricane Ida and several areas in Louisiana remain powerless as dangerous winds and flooding grips the state early this morning.

Follow Newsweek's liveblog throughout Monday for all the latest.