After hitting Louisiana, Ida loses its hurricane status and moves over Mississippi as a tropical storm

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Hurricane Ida became a tropical storm on Monday as its strongest winds passed over Mississippi, 16 hours after making landfall in Louisiana as one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded in the continental United States and plunging New Orleans into darkness Sunday night, leaving at least a dead person.

The storm pushed so much water toward the mouth of the Mississippi that it reversed the flow of the mighty river and left New Orleans without power, cutting off emergency supplies for the city’s crucial drainage system.

Torrential rains continued to fall on Monday as the storm moved slowly north. In some places up to 60 centimeters (two feet) of water was expected, and reports of roads and houses flooded were multiplying. Winds and water had already had a catastrophic effect on the southeastern coast of Louisiana, and dangerous floodwaters in rivers were spreading inland, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Ida stormed off the coast of Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane on Sunday afternoon, but hours later it had downgraded to Category 1. The storm knocked out all of New Orleans, affecting more than a million users, according to the site. PowerOutage. “We have lost electricity throughout the city! It is time to stay at home, in safe places. This is not the time to venture abroad, ”New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell tweeted.

One person died from a fall from a tree in the town of Prairieville, northwest of New Orleans. During this Monday, Ida was advancing with winds of 153 km / h, less violent than when it made landfall hours before, about 60 km south of New Orleans.

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The hurricane was preceded by strong winds and rain from the early hours of Sunday. New Orleans became a city of boarded up windows and houses surrounded by sandbags, awaiting this hurricane that was classified as “extremely dangerous.”

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Ida created a “life threatening situation” and urged “to take all necessary measures to protect her life and property.” In the town of Jean Lafitte, south of New Orleans, Mayor Tim Kernet spoke of “total, catastrophic devastation” with “the city’s levees overwhelmed” by floodwaters, to a local broadcaster.

“Between 75 and 200 people are blocked in the Barataria reserve, and the winds are too strong to go by boat to look for them,” he added.

President Joe Biden called Ida “a life-threatening storm” and one that “continues to devastate everything it comes in contact with.” For Governor John Bel Edwards, it could be the biggest storm to hit Louisiana since the 1850s.

There is no doubt that the next days and weeks will be extremely difficult”He said on Sunday, adding that some people will have to remain as refugees for up to 72 hours. “Find the safest place in your house and stay there until the storm passes,” he tweeted earlier.

The town of Grand Isle, on a barrier island south of New Orleans, was already flooded by rising water levels, CNN reported. Most of the inhabitants heeded the warnings of the authorities and fled the area days before the arrival of the storm, saturating the exits of New Orleans and other cities.

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In a neighborhood in the east of the city, the last preparations were finished on Sunday. “I’m not sure I’m ready,” said Charles Fields, who was still carrying his patio furniture indoors at the time, “but we’ll have to face it.” In 2005, Hurricane Katrina flooded the 60-year-old man’s home to about 3.3 meters. “Let’s see how it holds up” this time, he said.

Katrina flooded 80% of New Orleans, leaving 1,800 dead and billions of dollars in damage. Governor Edwards warned that Ida will be “a major test” for the state’s flood prevention system, which was expanded after the devastating Katrina. And he explained to CNN that an estimated hundreds of thousands of residents evacuated their homes.

The storm “brings various difficulties for us, with hospitals so full of covid-19 patients,” he added. The southern state, with a low vaccination rate, has been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus. With 2,700 hospitalizations as of Saturday, the levels are close to the highest in the pandemic. This context complicated the plans to deal with this hurricane and to activate the shelters.

Biden, who declared a state of emergency in Louisiana, urged on Saturday that anyone in shelters wear a mask and maintain a safe distance. Scientists warned of an increase in the number of strong cyclones as the ocean surface warms due to climate change, posing an increasing threat to the world’s coastal communities.

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