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Ida downgraded to tropical depression, still producing heavy rain

Tropical Weather Atlantic
Posted at 11:50 PM, Aug 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-31 03:58:45-04

One day after making landfall in Louisiana as a major hurricane, Ida was downgraded to a tropical depression.

As a tropical depression, Ida was producing 35 mph sustained winds and heavy rainfall in Mississippi, Alabama and the western Florida panhandle, the National Hurricane Service reported.

So far, the storm is responsible for two deaths. The Louisiana Department of Health said late Monday that a man drowned while driving through floodwaters in New Orleans. The Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office said on Facebook that a person northwest of New Orleans had died potentially in a falling tree incident.

The storm has caused significant damage to the local power grid, leaving the vast majority of New Orleans without electricity since Sunday evening.

According to PowerOutage.us, more than 1 million customers in Louisiana are without power, in addition to more than 100,000 in Mississippi. Entergy later noted that it was "providing backup generation" to the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board.

During a press briefing Monday afternoon, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards estimated that as many as "2 million" people in the state could be without electricity.

"The damage has been catastrophic...we're going to be dealing with this damage for quite a while," Edwards said. "This is going to be a long haul."

President Joe Biden has granted Edwards' request for disaster assistance. During Monday's briefing, Biden noted that 25,000 members of debris crews from 30 states were headed to Louisiana to assist in cleaning up the storm damage. He also noted that more than 5,000 national guard members from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas had been activated.

"We're providing any help for you that you're doing to need," Biden said.

With 150 mph winds upon landfall, Ida was one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall in the state. It arrived on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which killed more than 1,800 people when it made landfall in 2005.