Hurricane Ida’s fierce Category 4 winds and torrential rain left the Louisiana coastline badly beaten.
Images of the affected areas days after the storm show crushed homes, debris scattered across streets and flooded neighborhoods.
As cleanup is underway, officials are warning residents who evacuated not to return to their homes just yet because of the severe damage.
When the storm made landfall, its winds were as high as 150 mph and tore roofs from homes and ripped trees from their roots. It was eventually downgraded to a tropical depression by Monday as it moved across Mississippi.
Hurricane Ida hit New Orleans on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the costliest storm on record in U.S. history. Katrina, which caused massive damage to New Orleans, was a Category 3 storm when it hit. Though a weaker storm (winds during Hurricane Katrina reached 125 mph), it was larger in size than Hurricane Ida, which experts say is why Katrina caused so much damage.
The winds knocked out power in New Orleans, including, temporarily, the city’s 911 emergency response system, and in surrounding areas. More than 1 million residents were still without power by early Tuesday. It’s unclear when power will be restored to most residents, but officials believe it may last more than a month for some people.
Hurricane Ida has been blamed for the death of at least two people as of Monday, according to Louisiana’s Department of Health. One man drowned after he attempted to drive his car through floodwaters in New Orleans. The other victim was found Sunday night after being hit by a fallen tree.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said he expects the number of fatalities to increase as recovery efforts continue.
President Biden approved Louisiana’s request for a major disaster declaration on Sunday, allowing federal funding to reach residents and business owners.
Emergency and first responder teams, including the U.S. Coast Guard and National Guard, continued operations on Tuesday. Search and rescue teams from more than 15 states are conducting operations in hard-hit areas, according to Federal Emergency Management Agency.
FEMA also reminded residents to be cautious of news shared on social media being attributed to the agency.
Its website warned residents about false rumors being shared on online alleging the agency is paying for hotels for people who evacuated because of the storm. The agency said people must first apply for FEMA assistance online before receiving aid.
Officials continue to remind Louisianans that bouncing back from Ida’s destruction is a marathon — not a sprint.