Hurricane Ida was downgraded to a tropical depression Monday night, as local officials surveyed damage that could take years to undo. The storm hit the Louisiana coast carrying winds up to 150 mph as a category four hurricane, leaving more than a million in the state without power into Tuesday morning. Some of those outages could stretch on for as long as a month. Local officials asked those who evacuated ahead of the storm not to return home yet because communities have been essentially shut off from most utility services, including water, sewer systems, as well as the electrical grid.
“While New Orleans was spared the worst, thanks in large part to the $14.5 billion federally funded levee system built after Hurricane Katrina, communities west and south of the city were completely routed by the storm,” the Washington Post reports. “There were widespread reports of downed power lines and trees, levee failures and flooding, collapsed buildings and people trapped in flooded homes.”
On Monday, the state of Louisiana woke up to the scale of the damage.
To assist with the rescue and cleanup efforts currently underway, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has deployed 3,600 employees to Gulf Coast states Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas. “By early Tuesday, the storm, [-] downgraded to a tropical depression, was in northern Mississippi, producing heavy rain with winds of 30 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center,” the New York Times reports. “Ida was expected to push toward the northeast on Tuesday, the center said, producing heavy rain and a flood threat from the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys to the Mid-Atlantic States through Wednesday.”