According to Nola.com, all of New Orleans lost power on Sunday night as Hurricane Ida knocked down eight transmission lines that supply electricity to the city. All residents of Orleans Parish, New Orleans' home, were affected by the loss of power at 7:15 p.m. (local time) and 8:15 pm. ET and it is not known when power will be restored.
Entergy, a local utility, stated that it was facing catastrophic transmission damage. He tweeted that eight transmission lines had been cut by the company which led to the blackout. The main transmission tower collapsed into the Mississippi River.
According to PowerOutage.US which tracks outages across the country, approximately 993,000 people live in Louisiana and 32,000 in Mississippi. WWL-TV, a local news station in Louisiana, reports that phone calls in the area are going to voicemail. However, text messages are still being received. The New Orleans 96 pumps, which help with stormwater management, have also lost power to Entergy. This has forced the Sewerage & Water Board to rely solely on electricity generated at home. They are vital to the city's continued operation as it is likely to get up to 20 inches (51 cm) of rain from Ida.
Hurricane Ida is a Category 4 slow-moving storm. It made landfall at Port Fourchon around noon local. Ida sustained winds of 150 mph (241 km/h) at the time it made landfall. The storm was still intense as it moved inland. It has recently started to slow down wind-wise. However, heavy rain and surf continue to wreak havoc.
Amazingly, the Mississippi River reversed its course earlier in the evening. It temporarily flowed south to north, a move likely to increase flood damage to the state.
Reports of flooding in Louisiana are just beginning to show the effects of Hurricane Irma. According to WWL-TV in Jefferson Parish, the water system has been damaged by fallen trees and is losing 250,000 gallons per hour.
Louisiana is experiencing a huge increase in covid-19 patients recently, which has pushed the local health system to its limits. On Friday, the state reported 34228 new covid-19 patients. Approximately 84% of Louisiana's ICU beds are currently occupied. NOLA.com reported on Friday that Thibodaux Regional Health System, Lafourche Parish's backup generator had failed. This forced medical staff to manually pump air into patients lungs and transport them to another part of the hospital with power. Jerome Zeringue, a state representative, described the scene as Katrinaesque.
As Ida shows, it is clear that many parts of the U.S. electricity grid are too old to withstand the harsh climate conditions. Puerto Rico's failure to recover from Hurricane Maria is the most famous example of a grid that has failed. Hurricanes are not the only climate catastrophes that can threaten power supply. The Texas energy grid collapsed this year after severe cold in Texas, resulting in hundreds of deaths across the state. It almost crashed again this summer. California's grid was also stressed by wildfires this summer, as it has been in recent years. Further stress has been caused by the declining water levels in the state's reservoirs and hydropower dams. These disasters are a reminder of why we need a modernized grid. One that connects larger swathes of the country, but also has resilience measures to cope with increasingly hot, fiery and stormy conditions. It would also eliminate fossil fuels. It is a long-term endeavor, however.
We have created a guide to show you how you can help Ida victims right now.