Hurricane Ida’s fierce Category 4 winds and torrential rain left the Louisiana coastline badly beaten.
Images of the effected 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 due to the severe damage.
When the storm made landfall, its winds were as high as 150 mph, which tore roofs from homes and 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 attribute to why Katrina caused so much damage ago.
The winds knocked out power in New Orleans, including temporarily the city’s 911 emergency response system, and surrounding areas. More than 1 million residents are 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 is also 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 Edwardssaid 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, continue operations on Tuesday. Search and rescue teams from more than 15 states are conducting operations in hard-hit areas, according to FEMA.
FEMA also reminded residents to be cautious of news shared on social media being attributed to the agency.
It warned residents on its website about false rumors being shared on online alleging the agency is paying for hotels for people who evacuated due to 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.