(CMR) Millions of Louisiana residents may be without electricity for days, possibly weeks, as officials assess the damage from Hurricane Ida, which has been downgraded to a tropical storm.
Ida made a destructive landfall on Sunday, on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, with 150mph (240km/h) winds, the fifth strongest to ever hit the US mainland. Several areas were flooded, and several buildings, including hospitals, were significantly damaged.
About 5,000 National Guard members have been deployed to aid search and rescue. In addition, more than 25,000 workers from around the country have mobilized to support power restoration.
One person was killed after a tree fell on a home in Ascension Parish, in Louisiana's Baton Rouge area. However, the number of fatalities could rise as search and rescue efforts continue.
Mayor of New Orleans LaToya Cantrell said that despite the devastation, mechanisms to protect the city worked.
“The systems we depended on to save lives and protect our city did just that, and we are grateful, but there is so much more work to be done,” Cantrell said on Monday.
She urged residents who had already evacuated their homes to stay put and not return until power and communications have been restored.
Ida was previously deemed “life-threatening,” drawing comparisons to Hurricane Katrina that had a path similar and killed 1,800 people in 2005.
However, New Orleans' flood defenses, strengthened in Katrina's aftermath, have done their job Governor John Bel Edwards said. He said the levee systems had “performed magnificently,” and none had been breached.
“But the damage is still catastrophic. We are still in a life-saving mode,” Governor Edwards said.
As Ida continues to move inland, it has weakened, but the National Hurricane Centre warned that heavy rain could still bring flooding to parts of Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.