Millions of Gulf Coast residents who survived Ida’s devastating winds and deluge of rain face widespread power outages that are expected to last for weeks. Power is out for more than 90% of customers in Orleans, Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes, three of the four most populated parishes in the state. Ida had impact on gas supplies, communication networks, clean water and hospitals. Some hospitals were evacuated. On the other part intense heat moves into the region. The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi for Wednesday. Some residents who stayed and rode out the storm will face heat indices of 105 to 107 degrees without air conditioning. To beat the heat, New Orleans plans to open cooling centers and mobile resources. The Category 4 hurricane has already contributed to five deaths.
In Mississippi, heavy rain washed away part of Highway 26, killing two people and injuring 10 others. Officials have urged those who evacuated not to come home yet. “Many of the life-supporting infrastructure elements are not present, are not operating right now,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said Tuesday. Search and rescue teams from more than 15 states are conducting operations in hard-hit areas. President Biden approved Louisiana’s request for a major disaster declaration. Ida, as a tropical depression now, remains a threat for other states across the eastern US. The storm is bringing heavy rain and the threat of flash floods to Tennessee. There is a high risk (level 4 out of 4) of flooding. The high risk stretches from extreme northern West Virginia, across Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey, southern New York and Connecticut.