The first death has been reported as Hurricane Ida moves through Louisiana on Sunday. Millions are without power, water, and fallen trees and debris already block the main roads, according to CNN.
The person who died in Prairieville, La., was injured by a fallen tree, according to the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office in a statement on Facebook, CNN reports.
Hurricane Ida arrived Sunday on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and is moving inland after touching down as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 150 mph on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. The storm is currently a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 110 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center, and is moving northwest. Many have already been left without power.
More than one million customers are without power in the region, according to PowerOutage.US, including more than 990,000 in Louisiana and more than 30,000 in Mississippi.
Entergy New Orleans sent out an alert Sunday evening saying the entire Orleans Parish was without power “due to catastrophic transmission damage.” According to city officials, the only power in New Orleans at this time is coming from generators.
All eight transmission lines that deliver power to the city are out of service, Entergy said, adding the power won’t return Sunday night.
The power outage was hindering the operation of sewer pumping stations.
“Currently there is no backup power to operate any of those that were impacted,” the Sewage and Water Board of New Orleans said in a statement to CNN. “We are assessing how many of the 84 stations are impacted but the number may be very significant.”
“In order to prevent sewage backups, we have asked residents to limit water usage at home, thus decreasing the amount of wastewater we must pump and treat,” the statement read.
Lafourche Parish has already set a curfew after all its roads became obstructed, and authorities there are unable to respond to calls. CNN reports that the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office plans to canvass the parish Monday morning. The Louisiana Department of Transportation has already shut down about 22 miles of Interstate 10 because of fallen trees on the roadway.
According to CNN, President Joe Biden granted Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards’ request for a major disaster declaration on Sunday. Federal agencies will now be helping state and local recovery efforts. The governor has urged citizens to stay inside and prepare to shelter in place for 72 hours after the storm has passed.
Flash flooding has already been reported by officials across the southeastern region of Louisiana, according to Reuters.
As the storm is underway, everyone’s eyes are on the levees. The levee system was upgraded following Hurricane Katrina’s devastation in 2005.
“This is one of the strongest storms to make landfall here in modern times,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said at a news briefing.
Hundreds of miles of new levees were built around New Orleans after flooding from Katrina inundated much of the low-lying city, especially historically Black neighborhoods. That monster storm claimed more than 1,800 lives.
Edwards voiced confidence in the $14.5 billion in levee improvements since then, saying they were “built for this moment.”
Plaquemines Parish has already ordered residents in the Braithwaite area to seek shelter on higher ground after reports of an overtopped levee, Reuters reported.
Check back here for updates on Hurricane Ida.