Ida weakened to a tropical storm over southwestern Mississippi Monday, a day after slamming into Louisiana as a dangerous Category 4 storm packing winds of up 150 mph – but left a wake of destruction in its wake and still brings the threat of floods.
The storm still packed sustained winds of 60 mph and continued to pose a threat of life-threatening flash floods, according to CNN.
“We’ve suffered flooding before. We suffered storms before. But I’ve never seen water like this in my life. It just hit us in the worst way possible and it was such a massive storm that it just totally devastated us,” Tim Kerner Jr, mayor of Jean Lafitte, south of New Orleans, told the network.
He said levees were overtopped in his city and residents were forced to their roofs, waiting for boats to rescue them.
More than one million customers in Louisiana were without electricity as of early Monday, according to PowerOutage.US.
Among them is all of Orleans Parish, which was hit with “catastrophic transmission damage,” the city office tweeted Sunday night.
Staffers at New Orleans ABC affiliate WGNO on Galleria Drive in Metairie were forced to evacuate their control room Sunday night, NOLA reported.
“The ceiling has peeled away,” anchor Susan Roesgen wrote during the station’s live coverage.
Reporter Chris Welty tweeted an image showing the sky seen through the damaged roof.
“Portions of the WGNO roof is coming off,” he wrote.
Meteorologist Brooke Laizer described how parts of the ceiling came down inside the weather center.
“Now in Chief Meteorologist @HankAllenWX’s Pad Thai dinner, I imagine he is not pleased,” she joked amid the chaos.
Meanwhile, a nurse captured terrifying footage of the moment the roof was ripped from her hospital near New Orleans, Newsweek reported.
Christiane Gottbrath posted on Instagram the horrifying video from Ochsner Health’s main campus hospital in Jefferson, where medical workers continued to treat patients.
The nurse move away quickly from the window the moment the roof was torn off by the high winds in a nearby building.
All of the patients at Ochsner St. Anne Hospital in Raceland and Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center in Houma were expected to be evacuated Monday morning, WWL-TV reported.
“There’s pieces of roof coming off at lots of our facilities,” Ochsner Health President and CEO Warner Thomas said Sunday night.
Ochsner Medical Center in Jefferson was swaying at the height of the storm.
Thomas said some skylights were broken at the site and that water had come through.
“We’ve got leaks in lots of different areas in the facility,” Thomas said, adding that it was not impeding patient care, according to the news outlet.
On Monday morning, the National Weather Service in New Orleans tweeted a list of flooded streets and urged residents to “stay sheltered in place unless you absolutely have to travel.”
Eerie photographs show the city in complete darkness amid damage to Entergy’s power grid.
Four parishes in southeast Louisiana had their main source of electricity cut when eight Entergy transmission lines failed, including a tower that fell into the Mississippi River, NOLA reported.
“Tomorrow we’ll know more. Hopefully we’ll build on that, once we have boots on the ground,” Entergy New Orleans CEO Deanna Rodriguez said about 1 a.m.
In Lafourche Parish, the Sheriff’s Office said it has deployed its deputies “in full force” to find people in need of help, CNN reported.
“Hurricane Ida has caused catastrophic damage in Lafourche Parish. Deputies have been deployed in full force today responding to emergencies, searching for those who need help, and helping clear roads,” the department said in a tweet.
Ida weakened into a tropical storm but is expected to continue unleashing heavy downpours “likely to result in life-threatening” flooding.
The full extent of storm damage still remains to seen in daylight.
On Sunday night, the sheriff’s office in Ascension Parish reported the first known US fatality from the storm, a 60-year-old man killed by a tree falling on his home near Baton Rouge.
Ida, the first major hurricane to strike the US this year, made landfall around noon Sunday as a ferocious Category 4 storm over Port Fourchon, a hub of the Gulf’s offshore oil industry, packing sustained winds of up to 150 mph.
Its arrival came 16 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina, one of the most catastrophic and deadly US storms on record, struck the Gulf Coast, and about a year after the last Category 4 hurricane, Laura, hit Louisiana.
With Post wires