A Louisiana man who drowned inside his car has been confirmed as the second death from Hurricane Ida, state officials said Monday.
The man, who was not identified, died on Interstate-10 while trying to drive through floodwaters, the Lousiana Department of Health announced on Twitter.
“LDH sadly confirms the death of a male who drowned after his vehicle attempted to go through floodwater near I-10 and West End Blvd. in New Orleans,” the post said. “His age is unknown at this time pending ID of the victim.”
On Sunday night authorities said a 60-year-old man was crushed to death when his car was hit by a falling tree in Ascension Parish — the first casualty of the storm after it slammed Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane.
Louisiana’s Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards said Monday that officials expect the death toll from the monster storm to rise “considerably” as search and rescue crews branch out.
Ida slammed the Louisiana coast with 150-mph winds and dangerous storm surges, knocking out power to more than 1 million utility customers, downing trees and sparking flash floods that have stranded hundreds of residents.
Ida weakened to a tropical storm after making landfall but is expected to bring heavy rains, flash floods and dangerous storm conditions through much of the US Southeast through late Wednesday.
Ida also hit the state’s hospitals hard, compounding the COVID-19 crisis in Louisiana that has health care facilities at capacity — forcing four to fully evacuate.
Ochsner Health, the state’s largest hospital system, said more than 160 patients were being moved Monday as generators failed after the storm ripped off roofs and flooded several facilities, NOLA.com reported.
Other hospitals reported “significant damage” from the storm, while others reported they were running low on backup power Monday.
“I hate to say it this way, but we have a lot of people on ventilators today and they don’t work without electricity,” Bel Edwards said.
Lousiana has been among the states hardest hit by the COVID-19 Delta variant.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health, the state has 2,684 COVID patients in hospitals, with the pandemic totals now at more than 12,000 deaths and nearly 380,000 confirmed cases.