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Louisiana power could be out for weeks; Ida pours rain on Southeast

By Clyde Hughes & Accuweather.com
1/11
Louisiana power could be out for weeks; Ida pours rain on Southeast
Workers makes repairs in New Orleans after Hurricane Ida on Tuesday. Photo by AJ Sisco/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 31 (UPI) -- More than a million people in Louisiana began Tuesday in the second day of a power outage that could last for weeks after the impact of Hurricane Ida.

Crews were moving in to assess the extent of the damage to power grids in New Orleans and elsewhere in the state.

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Electricity has been out since Sunday, when Ida arrived as a Category 4 hurricane, toppling scores of power poles and damaging equipment.

Utility company Entergy said a transmission tower fell near Avondale and conductors and wires fell into the Mississippi River. As of early Tuesday, about 1.02 million customers in Louisiana were without power, according to Poweroutage.us. About 60,000 had no electricity in neighboring Mississippi, which was also impacted by Ida.

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"This will be a marathon, not a sprint," Entergy New Orleans President and CEO Deanna Rodriguez told WDSU-TV. "We're working as safely and quickly as we can, but recovery will vary depending on the damage incurred and its location.

"We must all be prepared for the recovery to take some time."

Some customers could be without power for more than three weeks, officials said, but Entergy said 90% of customers will be restored sooner, WDSU reported.

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Entergy said a team of more than 20,000 people has started assessing damage throughout southeast Louisiana.

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport said all flights were canceled for Tuesday and 200 have been canceled for Wednesday.

A partial highway collapse in Mississippi killed two people following heavy rainfall from Ida. A portion of Highway 26 in Lucedale crumbled late Monday. Three people were critically hurt.

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Images from the scene show that the earth supporting the roadway had given way, wiping out a large portion of the paved road above in the process.

Authorities in St. Tammany Parish, La., said they're investigating another death related to the storm, due to an alligator attack in the Slidell area.

A 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator outside his home, which is located near the Southeast Louisiana Wildlife refuge.

The man's wife said he was checking on his outdoor shed when he was attacked. Officials said they have not yet found his body, but are certain that he's dead. A 60-year-old man was also killed Sunday when he was struck by a falling tree.

Ida continued to produce heavy rainfall on Tuesday as it tracked inland through the Southeast, according to the National Weather Service.

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The NWS said Ida will cross the Appalachians and the Mid-Atlantic Coast on Thursday. Considerable flash and urban flooding impacts are expected Tuesday across the Southeast. On Wednesday, it will move over the Tennessee Valley.

AccuWeather founder and CEO Joel N. Myers estimated the total damage and economic loss resulting from Hurricane Ida will be between $70 billion and $80 billion.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell will visit Baton Rouge, La., on Tuesday to survey damage, the White House said.

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