Search and rescue operations are underway after Hurricane Ida slammed the Louisiana coast, leaving about one million homes and businesses without power, including the entire city of New Orleans. Federal officials said it could be weeks before power is restored.
The storm, now a tropical depression, crashed into the state as a Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds on Sunday, ripping the roofs off buildings and snapping power lines. The storm has been blamed for at least two deaths, but Louisiana's governor said the number will likely increase in the days to come.
"We know that individuals are out there waiting to be rescued because their homes are inhabitable," Governor John Bel Edwards said Monday. "Please know that we have thousands of people out right now with high water vehicles and boats who are doing search and rescues.
"We're going to do everything we can to get to all the individuals who need help."
In New Orleans, rising floodwaters trapped drivers in their cars, and debris was seen flying off Ochsner Medical Center in the city. Hospitals across the area continued treating patients even in hazardous conditions. Brick buildings in downtown New Orleans were completely reduced to rubble.
Despite weakening on Monday, the National Hurricane Center said the tropical depression still carried the threat of heavy rainfall and flash flooding as it moves over central and northeastern Mississippi on Monday afternoon.
Gas prices expected to rise after Ida shuts down refineries
Hurricane Ida shut down a significant number of refineries in the Gulf Coast, which could lead to an increase in gas prices.
About 95% of the Gulf Coast's crude oil and gas production were shut down as Ida ravaged Louisiana, according to energy research company S&P Global Platts.
"I expect the national average to rise in the neighborhood of 5-15 cents per gallon in the next couple of weeks — far smaller than the impact from Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey, but with damage assessments still to come, it's possible we see slight deviation from that," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.
Ida causing power outages at hospitals filled with COVID patients
The massive power outages and widespread damage facing Louisiana are especially devastating for hospitals, many of which are filled with COVID patients. Governor John Bel Edwards said three hospitals were evacuated due to the storm.
Backup generators failed at a hospital in Thibodaux, southwest of New Orleans, forcing staff to manually help patients breathe, state health officials said. Several inches of water flooded the first floor of the Children's Hospital of New Orleans, which is now running on generator power.
Dr. Mark Kline, physician-in-chief at the children's hospital, said there was "adequate" fuel for the days to come — but warned that "the longer this stretches on, the more concerning it could become for us."
At Ochsner St. Anne Hospital in Raceland, the roof was damaged and windows were blown out in two patient rooms, CBS affiliate WWL-TV reported. Officials for the health system said many of their facilities were facing leaks and roof damage.
Tulane University evacuates students and cancels classes for 2 weeks
Tulane University, which is located in New Orleans, announced Monday that it will evacuate all students still on campus to Houston via bus. The school also said it would close its campus and cancel classes for the next two weeks and would hold only online classes until October 11.
The university said it's establishing a "hub" in Houston to provide food and housing for students, at Tulane's expense, until they can secure a flight home.
Second death attributed to Hurricane Ida
The Louisiana Department of Health said Monday that a man drowned after "his vehicle attempted to go through floodwater" in New Orleans. The man's age and name have not been released.
The department said the coroner has determined the death to be storm-related, bringing the death toll to two. Officials said earlier Monday that a 60-year-old man from Ascension Parish was killed when a tree fell on his home.
Louisiana governor says state is trying to restore power "as quickly as possible"
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said Monday afternoon that the state is working "as quickly as possible" to restore power to the more than 1 million homes and businesses that are in the dark after Hurricane Ida.
Edwards said tens of thousands of people in the state were working to restore the power, adding that critical infrastructure like hospitals and dialysis centers will be given priority.
"I can't tell you when the power will be restored," Edwards said — though he promised that "We're gonna work hard every single day to deliver as much assistance as we possibly can."
"I know the people in our state are stronger than the strongest of storms," he added.
Edwards also commended the state's search and rescue workers, who he said were deployed at approximately 3 a.m. So far, the National Guard has rescued 191 people and 27 pets, he said.
Ida downgraded to a tropical depression
The National Hurricane Center downgraded Ida to a tropical depression on Monday afternoon, meaning the storm's maximum sustained winds have slowed to less than 38 mph. While a threat of heavy rains and flash flooding continues, all tropical storm and storm surge warnings have ended.
The storm, which currently has maximum sustained winds of about 35 mph, is forecast to weaken more as it travels across central and northeastern Mississippi.
Video shows storm surge swallowing area around firehouse
Security camera footage at a firehouse in Delacroix,, showed how quickly floodwaters rose Sunday. Storm surge swallowed the area in less than an hour and a half.
More flooding in the forecast as Ida moves inland
As Ida moves inland, the threat of dangerous flash flooding increases far away from the Gulf Coast.
From now through Thursday, the storm is forecast to cover a lot of real estate, bringing with it a tropical connection of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.
What is especially concerning is that the computer models are showing as much as 10 inches of rain in store for the Northern Appalachians.
Right now the storm is still located in the Southeast, having weakened substantially from theit was when it made landfall in Grand Isle, Louisiana. Sustained winds are now dropping below 40 mph.
Next the storm will move through Birmingham, Alabama, and Atlanta, Georgia, into central Tennessee by Tuesday. Along its path, several inches of rain will fall and tornadoes are likely, especially on the east side of the storm's circulation.
Images show Ida's wrath in Louisiana
Photographers captured the devastation in Louisiana on Monday after Ida battered the state.
Louisiana sustained "catastrophic" damage but levees held, governor says
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards described the damage to his state as "catastrophic," but he said the state's levee systems "performed magnificently." The governor gave the update Monday afternoon during a video conference with President Biden.
"It would be a different story altogether had any of those levee systems failed," Edwards told the president. "Having said that, the damage is still catastrophic, but it was primarily wind-driven."
Edwards said some areas received a "tremendous" amount of rainfall. "We're going to be dealing with this damage for quite a while," the governor said.
Amid widespread power outages, hospitals were running on generators, and Edwards said the Army Corps of Engineers was trying to find additional generators in case hospitals need them.
Edwards said search-and-rescue teams from 16 states were on the ground in Louisiana as of Sunday and rescuers started making their way to affected areas at 3 a.m. Monday.
The U.S. Coast Guard rescued "about seven" patients from a hospital, Edwards said.
Ida likely to drive up U.S. gasoline prices
Gasoline prices across the U.S. are likely to edge up in the next two weeks as Ida disrupts fuel supplies, experts said.
Roughly 95% of oil and gas production in the Gulf Coast was shut down as Ida barreled into the region Sunday, according to energy research company S&P Global Platts.
Colonial Pipeline, the biggest petroleum pipeline operator in the U.S., temporarily stopped fuel deliveries from Houston to Greensboro, North Carolina, as a "precautionary measure" during Ida's landfall.
Experts said the closure of energy facilities will lead to temporary hikes in gas prices. Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at research firm GasBuddy, said in a tweet that prices at the pump are likely to rise at least 5 cents per gallon nationally and could go higher. But he does not expect a drastic surge in gas costs.
Other experts think fuel prices could see a bigger increase.
Ida damage to U.S. economy should be modest, analysts say
Ida is sure to take a toll on the energy, chemical and shipping industries that have major hubs along the Gulf Coast, but the impact on the overall U.S. economy should be modest so long as damage estimates don't rise sharply and refinery shutdowns are not prolonged, economists say.
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, said the disruptions caused by Ida will likely lead him to downgrade his forecast for annual U.S. economic growth in the current July-September quarter by a few tenths of a percentage point. But that economic loss, he said, could be reversed in the final quarter of the year as a result of the rebuilding from the hurricane's damage that will likely follow.
Ida causes major flooding in Jefferson Parish: "An absolutely frightening night"
More than 200,000 utility customers had no power Monday morning in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, just outside of New Orleans. The area also saw major flooding, parish president Cynthia Lee Sheng said on "CBS This Morning," describing what she called "an absolutely frightening night."
In Lafitte, an area surrounded by bodies of water, there were reports of people staying in their attics because of flooding, Lee Sheng said.
"Our priority up here is trying to get into Lafitte and do a search and rescue there," she said. "We were getting a lot of rescue calls for high water."
Officials were also working to get in contact with people in Grand Isle. "We lost contact with them probably late afternoon," Lee Sheng said.
Lee Sheng said the parish was prepared, but it "took a battering for so long."
"Yesterday was terrible, last night was terrible, in the darkness, knowing that people are stranded in water," she said. "It is a terrible feeling not to be in contact with people and not knowing what they're going through."
Children's Hospital in New Orleans "concerned" about lack of power and clean water
Louisiana's largest hospital system, Ochsner Health, reported roof damage and water leaks at several of its facilities after Hurricane Ida made landfall. Some locations in New Orleans and the Bayou region are now on backup generators.
Children's Hospital New Orleans is one of the facilities using emergency generators.
"We're on emergency generation and have been on that emergency power for a little more than 12 hours," Dr. Mark Kline, the physician-in-chief at the hospital, said on "CBS This Morning" Monday.
"Going forward, we're very concerned about the power situation, we're concerned about clean water, and we have a substantial number of critically ill children in the hospital and we're making contingency plans for potentially transferring them to a children's hospital in another state if necessary."
Kline said all the patients were safe as of Monday morning, but the hospital was told it could be without power for a week or more.
"Our sense is that there really isn't a timetable for restoration of power. We currently have fuel for emergency generation to last about another four days, and we don't know what our ability will be to get additional fuel in, given the situations with the roads," he said.
FEMA chief says some power outages may last for "several weeks"
Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said on "CBS This Morning" over a million customers were without power Monday morning and it may take "several weeks" before the lights come back on for everyone.
"People should be prepared for several weeks before full power restoration comes on," Criswell said. "We're not going to be able to tell you exactly where it's going to come on first, and so people need to be prepared. It's going to be weeks before we get all of it restored."
FEMA chief urges trapped people to wait for rescuers
Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, urged people needing to be rescued to stay where they are and wait for first responders.
"We're going to have a long road over the next few days as we try to identify where people may be, and people do need to be prepared to stay put for about 72 hours," Criswell said on "CBS This Morning." "We're going to get to you. The state and the local first responders are going to get to you as quickly as they can."
"Life-threatening" flash flood emergency in two parishes
Ida's unrelenting rainfall and storm surge have created "life threatening" flash flood emergencies in St. John the Baptist Parish and St. Charles Parish, according to the National Weather Service's New Orleans office:
St. John the Baptist issued a statement spotlighting the urgency, saying, "The 911 call center is currently receiving residents calls regarding emergency assistance including evacuations. Please remain in your homes. First responders will deploy as soon as soon as it safe to do so. Please call 911 if you need emergency evacuation assistance."
22 barges break loose on Mississippi River
Twenty-two barges broke loose from their moorings and were drifting on the Mississippi River, St. Bernard Parish officials confirmed Sunday. CBS affiliate WWL-TV has the latest:
Power outage spreads to all of New Orleans, mayor says
Hurricane Ida has knocked out power to the entire city of New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell tweeted late Sunday night.
"We have now lost power, citywide! This is the time to continue to remain in your safe places. It isn't a time to venture out!!" she said.
All eight transmission lines that deliver power to New Orleans were out of service, according to Entergy, the utility for the area, CBS New Orleans affiliate WWL reported.
"Catastrophic damage to our transmission system, all of Orleans Parish is currently without power," an Entergy spokesperson said.