Hurricane Ida makes landfall in Louisiana

By Fernando Alfonso III, Mike Hayes, Judson Jones, Adrienne Vogt, Meg Wagner, Aditi Sangal, Kathryn Snowdon and Jack Guy, CNN

Updated 8:22 a.m. ET, August 30, 2021
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4:32 p.m. ET, August 29, 2021

Mississippi River flow reversing due to hurricane "extremely uncommon," USGS says

From CNN's Brandon Miller

Storm surge and strong winds stopped the flow of the Mississippi River on Sunday near New Orleans and actually caused the flow to reverse – something the United States Geological Survey said is “extremely uncommon.”

“I remember, offhand, that there was some flow reversal of the Mississippi River during Hurricane Katrina, but it is extremely uncommon,” Scott Perrien, a supervising hydrologist with the USGS Lower Mississippi Gulf Water Science Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, told CNN.

Perrien noted that the river level rose about 7 feet due to the storm surge pushing up the river at the USGS gauge, located in Belle Chasse, about 20 miles south of New Orleans in southeastern Louisiana.

“During that time, the flow of the river slowed from about 2 feet per second down to about half a foot per second in the other direction,” Perrien said.

Perrien pointed out that the gauge does not measure the flow of the entire river, so it is possible that the deeper portions of the river did not reverse flow directions.

“The river is feeling the effects of the storm over a large area,” Perrien said, “all the way up to Baton Rouge the river has risen 1.5 feet in the past 12 hours as the surge pushes up the river. And the water level will likely rise more in the coming hours here in Baton Rouge.”

4:17 p.m. ET, August 29, 2021

Extensive flooding seen in Grand Isle, Louisiana

From CNN's Amanda Jackson

Grand Isle Marina in Grand Isle, Louisiana, shared surveillance video showing the venue flooded as Ida works its way through the area Sunday.


3:51 p.m. ET, August 29, 2021

Biden urges residents in Ida's path to take the storm "very seriously"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt


President Biden urged residents to listen to officials and stay safe as Hurricane Ida lashes Louisiana's coast.

"The storm is a life-threatening storm. ... And its devastation is likely to be immense. We shouldn't kid ourselves. And so the most important thing I can say right now is that everyone, everyone should listen to the instructions from local and state officials, just how dangerous this is. And take it seriously. It's not just the coasts. It's not just New Orleans. It's north as well. The rainfall is expected to be exceedingly high," Biden said while getting a briefing on the storm at Federal Emergency Management Agency offices.  

Biden pledged to put "the country's full might" behind rescue and recovery efforts.

"We're going to be here. We're going to be here to help the Gulf region get back on its feet as quickly as possible, as long as it takes," he said.

"We should be prepared that it can take a long time no matter how much we've prepositioned — which we have — that is going to take a long time for a lot of them to get back up. It could take a matter of weeks for some places," the President said.

Watch President Biden:

3:38 p.m. ET, August 29, 2021

Catch up: What you need to know about Hurricane Ida's landfall and where it's going next

Hurricane Ida slammed into Louisiana's coast near Port Fourchon earlier today as a Category 4 storm. If you're just reading in now, here's the latest on the hurricane:

  • The storm is far from over: Landfall is when the eye is halfway over the coast. Extreme winds and surge will accompany the 1 p.m. ET landfall over the next several hours. A tornado watch is in effect until 8 p.m. ET for parts of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, according to the Storm Prediction Center. Quick-moving, brief tornadoes will be possible throughout today. There is also a danger of life-threatening storm surge Sunday in areas along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
  • The effects so far: More than 285,000 customers are without power in Louisiana so far. Meanwhile, Airlines canceled all flights arriving to and leaving from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport on Sunday, the airport said. And Tulane University in New Orleans is closed Sunday and Monday, less than a week after students returned to campus.
  • Ida's path: The hurricane is expected to travel northward through Louisiana today, according to the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center. It will curve eastward as it keeps traveling north through Mississippi tomorrow.
  • A poignant anniversary: Ida hit on the 16th anniversary of the historically devastating Hurricane Katrina. As a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 150 mph, it tied at the state's most powerful storm ever with Laura from last year and the Last Island Hurricane of 1856.
3:25 p.m. ET, August 29, 2021

Here are the supplies FEMA has sent to Louisiana so far

From CNN’s DJ Judd

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has sent the following supplies to Louisiana ahead of Hurricane Ida making landfall, according to spokesperson Jaclyn Rothenberg:

  • 200 ambulances
  • 139,000 tarps (includes tarps sent to Mississippi)
  • 3.5 million meals (includes meals sent to Mississippi)
  • 2.5 million liters of water

There are 22 federal agencies supporting the effort, Rothenberg added. Millions more meals and liters of water are on their way, she said.


3:24 p.m. ET, August 29, 2021

Fire station in Delacroix, Louisiana, shares video of intense storm damage

A fire station in Delacroix, Louisiana, shared a video of the devastation Hurricane Ida is causing in just a short period of time.


3:41 p.m. ET, August 29, 2021

Louisiana governor says Ida is "one of the strongest storms to make landfall here in modern times"

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

CNN via Skype
CNN via Skype

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said today that Hurricane Ida is one of the strongest storms to make landfall in Louisiana in modern times, as it rapidly intensified at an unprecedented rate, right up until landfall.

The governor urged residents to remain indoors and to be patient, as the state does not know how soon first responders will be able to respond to calls for assistance.

“Once the storm has passed, you need to be prepared to shelter in place for the first 72 hours,” Edwards said. “We have every possible resource ready to go, to help you. We’ll get there sooner than 72 hours if at all possible, in order to rescue people across the state of Louisiana.”

The entirety of the Louisiana National Guard has been activated and currently more than 4,900 guardsmen are staged across 14 parishes. They have 195 high water vehicles, 73 boats, and 34 helicopters ready to support and assist the citizens, the governor said.

According to the governor, all of the state’s Hurricane Protection Systems have been completely closed and all structures are fully operational at this time, though overtopping in some southeast portions are anticipated.

“Obviously overtopping is concerning, but I want to make sure that everybody understands overtopping and levee failure are not the same thing,” Edwards said.

3:41 p.m. ET, August 29, 2021

Overtopping of New Orleans levees not expected, Louisiana governor says

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said officials do not expect overtopping of levees in the New Orleans area due to Hurricane Ida.

"I can tell you right now we do not anticipate any overtopping of the Mississippi River levees or overtopping of the levees in the Hurricane Risk Reduction System around the greater New Orleans area," Edwards said in a news conference.  

The Hurricane Storm Damage Risk Reduction System is a flood prevention system constructed after Hurricane Katrina in 2006. Hurricane Ida made landfall 16 years after Katrina.

Edwards said that floodwaters may crest over levees in certain other areas, including portions of the Larose to Golden Meadow levee system, and non-federal levees in Plaquemines and lower St. Bernard parishes.

"Obviously, overtopping is concerning, but I want to make sure that everybody understands, overtopping and levee failure are not the same thing. A levee failure can be much more catastrophic," he said.


3:13 p.m. ET, August 29, 2021

More than 285,000 customers without power as Ida hits Louisiana

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

More than 285,000 customers are without power in Louisiana as Hurricane Ida drives into the state, according to

There are 285,477 customers without power as of 3 p.m. ET.

There were about 150,000 customers without power just before 2 p.m. ET.