Ida pummels Louisiana

By Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya, Aditi Sangal, Judson Jones, Jack Guy, Kathryn Snowdon, and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 9:00 p.m. ET, August 30, 2021
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8:50 a.m. ET, August 30, 2021

CNN meteorologist: Ida was 256 times more potentially damaging than a Category 1 storm

Hurricane Ida has now weakened to become Tropical Storm Ida, but it has wrecked havoc in parts of Louisiana already.

CNN's Chad Myers put the wind damage in perspective.

"A Category 1, we're going to call it one times multiplier. It's a ... 75-mph storm. You get to a Category 3, it's 30 times more powerful and potential for damage than a Category 1," he said.

"Ida was 256 times more potential damage than a Category 1, 75-mph storm. That's what people are waking up to today. When we get pictures, we're not going to like them," Myers added.

Ida was still a big storm "as it was moving on shore because it was running over water. It was running over the swamps and the ditches," he said. "It's not any cooler than the ocean or the Gulf of Mexico. That's why the storm did not slow down like a typical landfalling hurricane that does hit land."

As Ida moves northward as a Category 1 storm, it has "switched from a damage surge maker, a wind-damage maker, now to a rainmaker and a flood event." Myers said as he outlined what to expect next.

  • The worst of the eye wall was over Grand Isle. That area may have significant damage
  • Tornado watch is still in effect. Tornadoes are still possible today.
  • A lot of rainfall — maybe 4 to 6 inches of rain still to be expected. 

Watch:

6:36 a.m. ET, August 30, 2021

Hurricane Ida slammed Louisiana Sunday. Here's where things stand now.

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

Hurricane Ida slammed Louisiana with devastating force as a Category 4 hurricane Sunday, leaving at least one person dead and more than one million customers without power as it flooded homes, ripped off roofs and trapped residents in dangerous rising waters.

While the scope of the damage won't be clear until day breaks Monday and teams can assess the chaos, initial reports indicate the situation for many residents who stayed behind is dire.

The storm slowed after it made landfall around 1 p.m. ET Sunday near Port Fourchon, delivering catastrophic winds and torrential rains for hours.

Ida weakened to a tropical storm early Monday with sustained winds of 60 mph and the continued threat of life-threatening flash flooding.

"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," said Tim Kerner Jr, mayor of Jean Lafitte, south of New Orleans.

Levees were overtopped in his city and residents were forced to their roofs, waiting for rescue boats to arrive, Kerner said.

"We're going to make sure we get as many boats as possible," to assist with rescues, he said, adding that boats were ready to move in as soon as the weather broke. "It really breaks your heart when you know those people and you can't get to those people."

Ida slammed into Louisiana on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, tying with 2020's Hurricane Laura and the Last Island Hurricane of 1856 as the strongest ever to hit the state.

More than one million customers in Louisiana were without power as of early Monday morning, according to PowerOutage.US. Among them is all of Orleans Parish, which was hit with "catastrophic transmission damage," the city office said in a Tweet Sunday night. More than 105,000 customers were without power in Mississippi, PowerOutage.US reported.

Entergy Louisiana said some of its customers could be without power for weeks. And the storm surge of up to 15 feet and winds as strong as 150 mph could leave parts of southeast Louisiana "uninhabitable for weeks or months," according to a local hurricane statement from the National Weather Service in New Orleans

8:50 a.m. ET, August 30, 2021

More than 1 million left without power following powerful hurricane 

From CNN's Alta Spells

Nearly half the customers in the state of Louisiana are without power this morning after Tropical Storm Ida rammed into the state's coast as a powerful category 4 hurricane on Sunday. 

As of 5:30 a.m. ET, Poweroutage.us reports 1,017,535 outages across Louisiana. Most of the outages are concentrated in the southeastern part of the state. 

In neighboring Mississippi, 103,023 customers in the southwest part of the state are waking up without any power, according to Poweroutage.us. 

Top Areas by Outages

Louisiana    1,017,535

Mississippi    103,023

8:50 a.m. ET, August 30, 2021

Ida boosted by saturated soils following higher than average rainfall

From CNN's Pedram Javaheri

New Orleans and southern Louisiana have had more rain so far this year than they normally do on average.

This means the soil is saturated to the point that it essentially acts like the Gulf of Mexico, said CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri.

Moisture fuels the storm and the wet soils helped Ida to maintain hurricane strength for several hours after landfall, he said.

This is known as the "brown ocean effect," a phenomenon that affects around 20% of tropical storm systems, explained Javaheri.

"Still maintaining hurricane strength really speaks volumes as far as how intense of a storm we're dealing with," he said.

"This is among the strongest storms you'll ever see make landfall across the US."

8:50 a.m. ET, August 30, 2021

Ida weakens to a tropical storm with life-threatening flash flooding continuing Monday

From CNN's Michael Guy

Ida has weakened to a tropical storm with sustained winds of 60 mph.

The primary hazard throughout Monday will be life-threatening flash flooding, but dangerous storm surges, damaging winds and tornadoes continue to be threats. 

The storm surge warning has been discontinued from Morgan City to Grand Isle, Louisiana. The hurricane and tropical storm warnings have been discontinued west of Grand Isle, Louisiana. 

All remaining areas under a hurricane warning have been replaced with a tropical storm warning and stretch from Grand Isle to the mouth of the Pearl River. 

This includes Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas and the New Orleans metro.