Aftermath of Hurricane Ida leave thousands without power or clean water

Thousands of people have left their homes and moved inland before Hurricane Ida hit Louisana. Credit: AP

Louisiana communities battered by 150mph winds from Hurricane Ida face the possibility of weeks without power or easy access to clean water as they begin the task of clearing debris and repairing damage from the storm.

Ida ravaged the region’s power grid, leaving the entire city of New Orleans and hundreds of thousands of other Louisiana residents in the dark with no clear timeline on when power would return.

Keith Clark brings rope to help tie down a houseboat before he evacuates Credit: Sophia Germer/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP

“There are certainly more questions than answers. I can’t tell you when the power is going to be restored. I can’t tell you when all the debris is going to be cleaned up and repairs made,” Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards told a news conference.

“But what I can tell you is we are going to work hard every day to deliver as much assistance as we can.”

The governor said 25,000 utility workers were on the ground in Louisiana to help restore electricity, with more on the way.

Jesse Perez, center, and Sergio Hijuelo walk through flooded streets near Lake Pontchartrain Credit: AP/Gerald Herbert

President Joe Biden met virtually with Mr Edwards and Mississippi governor Tate Reeves, along with mayors from cities and parishes most impacted by Hurricane Ida, to receive an update on the storm’s impacts and to discuss how the federal government can provide assistance.

So far the storm has been blamed for at least four deaths in Louisiana and Mississippi.

A man takes pictures of high waves along the shore of Lake Pontchartrain as Hurricane Ida nears Credit: AP/Gerald Herbert

In Slidell, crews searched for a 71-year-old man whose wife said he was attacked by an alligator in Ida’s floodwaters.

She pulled him to the steps of the home and paddled away to get help, but when she returned he was gone, authorities said.

On Monday, rescuers in boats, helicopters and high-water trucks brought more than 670 people in Louisiana trapped by floodwaters to safety.

An additional 20 people were rescued in Mississippi.

The powerful Category 4 storm made landfall 16 years to the day Hurricane Katrina hit the state causing more than 1,800 deaths and more than £90 billion of damage.

On Saturday, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards warned that Hurricane Ida will be one of the strongest storms to hit the state since the 1850s

The wind speed tied it for the fifth-strongest hurricane ever to hit the mainland.

By late Monday, the storm had been downgraded to a tropical depression with winds of up to 35mph, though forecasters still warned of heavy rain and a flood threat for parts of the Tennessee and Ohio valleys.

In preparation for Hurricane Ida, a worker boards up a business in the French Quarter in New Orleans. Credit: AP

The US National Hurricane Center defines a category 4 hurricane as one which will cause "catastrophic damage" causing "severe damage" to homes, snapping trees and downing power lines, causing power outages which could last for months and leaving the area uninhabitable for "weeks or months".

The hurricane twisted and collapsed a giant tower that carries key transmission lines over the Mississippi River to the New Orleans area, causing widespread outages, Entergy and local authorities said.

The tower had survived Katrina.