Over the weekend, New Orleans, Louisiana, along with several other Louisiana cities, suffered a direct hit from Hurricane Ida. Powerful winds and flash flooding have buffeted the city, with Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards calling it one of the most powerful storms to hit the city in the last 160 years. In addition to structural and road damages, the local power grid managed by Entergy New Orleans has been severely damaged, resulting in a near-complete power outage for the entire city.
Currently, the only power sources still running are emergency backup generators running the city’s storm drainage system. The Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans is also using generators to maintain the city’s running water, though they are advising all residents to refrain from running taps longer than necessary in order to prevent sewer buildup.
“We have worked to obtain backup power for some of these stations & we will mobilize those units when it is safe to traverse the city,” SWB New Orleans tweeted. “In order to prevent sewage backups, we have asked residents to limit water usage at home, thus decreasing the amount of wastewater we must remove.”
Elsewhere, levees have cracked and overflowed due to the deluge of rainwater. The town of Jean Lafitte has assembled rescue teams to search for what are believed to be approximately 200 people trapped by tidal surge.
Louisiana resident Trevon Gauno filmed the rain and wind whipping through his home after Hurricane Ida tore his roof off on Sunday.
In an Instagram post, he said he was in his room when the roof was pulled away. He was able to seek shelter at a relative’s home nearby. pic.twitter.com/4ZswOK3qNt
— NPR (@NPR) August 30, 2021
“We have a small group trying to take out the people in the most imminent danger,” Jean Lafitte Mayor Tim Kerner Jr. told local TV station WGNO-TV. “This is a very dangerous situation. I’ve never seen so much water in my life. We’ve lost our school and everything, but now with people’s lives, it has turned into a total rescue mission.”
“People’s lives are I believe at stake now,” he continued. “We are trying to get them out as soon as fast as we can and as soon as this weather [breaks] we are going to send an army to them.”
As of writing, the storm has been downgraded to a tropical storm, and a warning remains in effect.