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Nearly 1 million customers without power as Hurricane Ida charges inland

Hurricane Ida battered the coastline on Aug. 29, ripping roofs from buildings and pummeling trees. (Video: The Washington Post, Photo: Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post)
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Nearly 1 million customers were without power in Louisiana on Sunday night as Hurricane Ida battered the southeastern part of the state on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans said Entergy suffered “catastrophic” damage to a transmission line, and the utility said electricity would not be restored Sunday night. The New Orleans Sewage and Water Board said it was using backup power systems, including turbines and generators, to supply electricity to its pumping stations, which are essential to control flooding in the city.

Ida slammed the coastline Sunday as a Category 4 storm, then weakened to a Category 2 that night. It was forecast to be a tropical storm by Monday morning.

The storm has unleashed damaging wind gusts of up to 90 mph in New Orleans, along with flooding rain, which could spread through Mississippi and the Tennessee Valley on Monday.

Here’s what to know

  • More than 900,000 customers have lost power in Louisiana, and authorities warn that widespread outages could last weeks.
  • At least one person is dead in Ascension Parish, the first death be attributed to the storm.
  • Ida was testing the New Orleans flood protection system, bolstered by a $14.5 billion investment after Hurricane Katrina.
  • The roof was blown off a south Louisiana hospital with patients inside, in a visceral indication of how the storm has collided with an already strained health-care system.
  • President Biden promised Sunday to “put the country’s full weight” behind rescue-and-recovery efforts and noted that he signed emergency declarations for Louisiana and Mississippi in advance so that aid could be “surged.”
  • Almost 1 million people in New Orleans and surrounding cities were put under a flash-flood warning through Sunday night, while a “life-threatening” flash-flood “emergency” was declared in some communities south of New Orleans, near the Mississippi River.
  • Ida made landfall at 12:55 p.m. near Port Fourchon, La., with 150-mph winds and tied for the most intense hurricane on record to strike Louisiana.

Hurricane Ida tracker: Map and projected path