NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Hurricane Ida became a tropical storm as its top winds slowed over Mississippi on Monday, while across southeast Louisiana residents waited for daylight to be rescued from floodwaters and see how much damage was caused by one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to strike the U.S. mainland.
All of New Orleans lost power right around sunset Sunday, leading to an uneasy night of pouring rain and howling winds. The weather died down shortly before dawn and people began carefully walking around neighborhoods with flashlights, dodging downed light poles, pieces of roofs and branches.
Levees failed or were overtopped in the maze of rivers and bayous south of New Orleans, threatening hundreds of homes. On social media, people posted their addresses and locations — directing search and rescue teams to their attics or rooftops.
Officials promised to start the massive rescue effort as the weather broke and the sun rose.
The torrential rains mostly moved into Mississippi on Monday as the storm slowly moved north. Destructive winds and water already had a catastrophic impact along the southeast coast of Louisiana, and life-threatening river flooding continued well inland, the National Hurricane Center said.
Ida made landfall on the same day 16 years earlier that Hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana and Mississippi, and its 150 mph (230 kph) winds tied it for the fifth-strongest hurricane to ever hit the mainland. It was already blamed for one death, someone hit by a falling tree in Prairieville, outside Baton Rouge, deputies with the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office confirmed on Sunday.