Hurricane Ida death toll will ‘go up considerably,’ Louisiana governor warns

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has warned the death toll from Hurricane Ida – which is known to have killed at least person – will ‘go up considerably’.

Speaking on MSNBC on Monday, Bel Edwards warned that far more bad news lies ahead search and rescue efforts continued in the wake of Sunday’s Category 4 hurricane.

He said: ‘I don’t want to mislead anyone. Robust search and rescue is happening right now and I fully expect that that death count will go up considerably throughout the day.’ 

The one person confirmed to have died so far is a 60 year-old man. He has not been named and was killed after a tree fell on his home in Prairieville, Louisiana, on Sunday.   

And Cynthia Lee Cheng – mayor of Jefferson Parish – outlined the horror faced by some of her neighbors currently trapped in attics in the trashed town of Lafitte.

She said: ‘This is an area if you want to think of it like swampland, there’s alligators out there.’

Door-to-door searches are currently underway in Jefferson County, using boats in badly-flooded areas. Louisiana has also activated 5,000 National Guard members.

A US Army spokesman said 195 high-water vehicles and 73 rescue boats had been prepped and staged across south Louisiana to aid door-to-door search attempts. The National Guard has also organized 34 helicopters to support search and rescue, evacuation and reconnaissance missions as needed. 

In an interview with MSNBC on Monday, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said he expects the death toll from Hurricane Ida to rise throughout the day, as search and rescue operations continue

In an interview with MSNBC on Monday, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said he expects the death toll from Hurricane Ida to rise throughout the day, as search and rescue operations continue

In an interview with MSNBC on Monday, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said he expects the death toll from Hurricane Ida to rise throughout the day, as search and rescue operations continue

Bel Edwards spoke after Ida left more than 1 million people without power through Louisiana and Mississippi as it dumped torrential rain on the area, flooding much of New Orleans before being downgraded to a tropical storm Monday.

All of New Orleans lost power around sunset on Sunday, leaving people without refrigeration and air conditioning in the hot summer weather, as they used flashlights to search through the damage as the storm passed by around dawn.

Figures from power supplier Entergy confirmed that 144,000 homes were without power in the Big Easy. A further 195,000 are without power in nearby Jefferson Parish, while 80,000 are without power in St Tamany Parish.

Search and rescue operations began at around 3 a.m., with the Louisiana National Guard going door to door to check on residents, many of whom are still stuck on the second-floor or the attics of their homes.

President Joe Biden is expected to discuss the situation in a news conference later today. 

Much of Louisiana was flooded in the aftermath as levees failed or were overpowered

Much of Louisiana was flooded in the aftermath as levees failed or were overpowered

Much of Louisiana was flooded in the aftermath as levees failed or were overpowered

A person on a bicycle passes a damaged Shell station in Kenner, Louisiana on Monday as millions remained without power

A person on a bicycle passes a damaged Shell station in Kenner, Louisiana on Monday as millions remained without power

A person on a bicycle passes a damaged Shell station in Kenner, Louisiana on Monday as millions remained without power

A woman looks over damage to a neighborhood caused by Hurricane Ida on Monday

A woman looks over damage to a neighborhood caused by Hurricane Ida on Monday

A woman looks over damage to a neighborhood caused by Hurricane Ida on Monday

Men in the area struggled to remove scaffolding that fell on top of a vehicle outside of a hotel in Houma, Louisiana

Men in the area struggled to remove scaffolding that fell on top of a vehicle outside of a hotel in Houma, Louisiana

Men in the area struggled to remove scaffolding that fell on top of a vehicle outside of a hotel in Houma, Louisiana

Water was waist-deep in some areas, as a man and his stepson trudged through the flooding in Saint Rose, Louisiana

Water was waist-deep in some areas, as a man and his stepson trudged through the flooding in Saint Rose, Louisiana

Water was waist-deep in some areas, as a man and his stepson trudged through the flooding in Saint Rose, Louisiana

Now a tropical storm, Ida is expected to make its way through the Mid-South, Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast in the coming days, dropping three to six inches of rain along its way

Now a tropical storm, Ida is expected to make its way through the Mid-South, Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast in the coming days, dropping three to six inches of rain along its way

Now a tropical storm, Ida is expected to make its way through the Mid-South, Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast in the coming days, dropping three to six inches of rain along its way

A total of 950,000 homes have lost power across Louisiana as of Monday morning, with another 100,000 without electricity in Mississippi as the 911 system in Orleans Parish experienced technical difficulties for a second day in a row.

When the storm was at its strongest on Sunday, its winds raged at 150mph and picked up to just below 157mph – which would make it a Category 5 storm – and had it tie as the fifth-strongest hurricane to ever hit the US mainland, according to the Associated Press.

Within the storm’s first 20 hours, Louisiana saw a maximum of 17 inches of rainfall in an area just west of New Orleans, according to a tweet from Greg Carbin of NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center. As rainfall continues, the National Weather Service predicts that Ida could reach a total of 24 inches of rain. 

Ida is now set to move across Mississippi – sparking flood warnings for that state though Tuesday. The tropical storm warning for Louisiana was discontinued by late Monday morning.

The weather event will cross the north east tip of Alabama and into Tennessee in the early hours of Tuesday, with locals warned to prepare for flash floods caused by heavy rain, and winds of up to 60mph. 

It will move into the north east on Thursday. And while the extreme weather event will have substantially weakened in power by then, Ida is still expected to dump three inches of water across much of the area.

People in areas including New England – whose soils were saturated by rainwater during Tropical Storm Henri last week – fear any more sudden inundations could cause flash flooding.  

The power outage in New Orleans was caused by a tower toppled by Ida, with energy suppliers warning that power will be off indefinitely while damage assessments are carried out – and that locals could face weeks before it returns.  

Entergy confirmed the only power in New Orleans was coming from generators, the city’s Office of Homeland Security and Energy Preparedness tweeted, citing ‘catastrophic transmission damage.’ The city relies on Entergy for backup power for the pumps for the levees.  

That has sparked fears locals could poison themselves by attempting to use the generators – which emit dangerous carbon monoxide – in poorly ventilated indoor areas. 

New Orleans fire fighters assessed the damage from Hurricane Ida on Monday morning

New Orleans fire fighters assessed the damage from Hurricane Ida on Monday morning

New Orleans fire fighters assessed the damage from Hurricane Ida on Monday morning

Rubble was seen in the aftermath of the storm, as Governor John Bel Edwards warned recovery efforts could take weeks

Rubble was seen in the aftermath of the storm, as Governor John Bel Edwards warned recovery efforts could take weeks

Rubble was seen in the aftermath of the storm, as Governor John Bel Edwards warned recovery efforts could take weeks

The Karofsky shop suffered severe damage after Hurricane Ida pummeled New Orleans with strong winds

The Karofsky shop suffered severe damage after Hurricane Ida pummeled New Orleans with strong winds

The Karofsky shop suffered severe damage after Hurricane Ida pummeled New Orleans with strong winds

A piece of Cafe Du Monde is wrapped in a tree in the French Quarter due to Hurricane Ida in New Orleans

A piece of Cafe Du Monde is wrapped in a tree in the French Quarter due to Hurricane Ida in New Orleans

A piece of Cafe Du Monde is wrapped in a tree in the French Quarter due to Hurricane Ida in New Orleans

Energy power crews worked to restore power to New Orleans on Monday after the storm passed

Energy power crews worked to restore power to New Orleans on Monday after the storm passed

Energy power crews worked to restore power to New Orleans on Monday after the storm passed

Figures from power supplier Entergy confirmed that 144,000 homes were without power in the Big Easy. A further 195,000 are without power in nearby Jefferson Parish, while 80,000 are without power in St Tamany Parish

Figures from power supplier Entergy confirmed that 144,000 homes were without power in the Big Easy. A further 195,000 are without power in nearby Jefferson Parish, while 80,000 are without power in St Tamany Parish

Figures from power supplier Entergy confirmed that 144,000 homes were without power in the Big Easy. A further 195,000 are without power in nearby Jefferson Parish, while 80,000 are without power in St Tamany Parish

The Category Four storm caused all eight transmission lines into New Orleans to go down, and created a load imbalance that knocked all power generation into the region offline, Entergy spokesman Brandon Scardigli said in a statement to Nola.com.

He said the company is working to ‘assess a path forward to restore power to those who can take it.’ But locals have warned that power could be out for weeks, given the scale of the damage that must be repaired. 

Additionally, officials in Jefferson Parish said a transmission tower that provides electricity for New Orleans and the east bank of the parish collapsed into the river.

The parish’s Emergency Management Director told WVUE that cables that once hung across the Mississippi River were now buried under water.

Entergy officials tweeted on Monday that ‘it will likely take days to determine the extent of damage to our power grid’ and ‘far longer to restore electrical transmission in the region.’

The outage in New Orleans was caused by a tower toppled by Ida, with energy suppliers warning that power will be off indefinitely while damage assessments are carried out

The outage in New Orleans was caused by a tower toppled by Ida, with energy suppliers warning that power will be off indefinitely while damage assessments are carried out

The outage in New Orleans was caused by a tower toppled by Ida, with energy suppliers warning that power will be off indefinitely while damage assessments are carried out

Louisiana state troopers have been urging residents to shelter in place and avoid sight seeing as Hurricane Ida raged across the state on Sunday, as reported by CNN. Above, streets in New Orleans were flooded in the storm's wake

Louisiana state troopers have been urging residents to shelter in place and avoid sight seeing as Hurricane Ida raged across the state on Sunday, as reported by CNN. Above, streets in New Orleans were flooded in the storm's wake

Louisiana state troopers have been urging residents to shelter in place and avoid sight seeing as Hurricane Ida raged across the state on Sunday, as reported by CNN. Above, streets in New Orleans were flooded in the storm’s wake

A second floor balcony window in the French Quarter was blown out in the storm, leaving the building exposed during the storm as it approached Mississippi on Monday

A second floor balcony window in the French Quarter was blown out in the storm, leaving the building exposed during the storm as it approached Mississippi on Monday

A second floor balcony window in the French Quarter was blown out in the storm, leaving the building exposed during the storm as it approached Mississippi on Monday

The Big Easy was hit by Hurricane Ida, a Category 4 storm, late Sunday night. Canal Street is pictured in the aftermath on Monday morning

The Big Easy was hit by Hurricane Ida, a Category 4 storm, late Sunday night. Canal Street is pictured in the aftermath on Monday morning

The Big Easy was hit by Hurricane Ida, a Category 4 storm, late Sunday night. Canal Street is pictured in the aftermath on Monday morning 

A worker removed the barriers on the road that were blown over by the wind on Canal Street in New Orleans

A worker removed the barriers on the road that were blown over by the wind on Canal Street in New Orleans

A worker removed the barriers on the road that were blown over by the wind on Canal Street in New Orleans

Members of the Louisiana National Guard stood outside their vehicles on North Rampart Street, in the French Quarter,  to help in Hurricane Ida recovery efforts on Monday

Members of the Louisiana National Guard stood outside their vehicles on North Rampart Street, in the French Quarter,  to help in Hurricane Ida recovery efforts on Monday

Members of the Louisiana National Guard stood outside their vehicles on North Rampart Street, in the French Quarter,  to help in Hurricane Ida recovery efforts on Monday

The Louisiana National Guard sent in nearly 5,000 guardsmen for the rescue efforts. One of the guardsmen was seen lining up vehicles on North Rampart Street in New Orleans Monday morning

The Louisiana National Guard sent in nearly 5,000 guardsmen for the rescue efforts. One of the guardsmen was seen lining up vehicles on North Rampart Street in New Orleans Monday morning

The Louisiana National Guard sent in nearly 5,000 guardsmen for the rescue efforts. One of the guardsmen was seen lining up vehicles on North Rampart Street in New Orleans Monday morning

Guardsmen in Louisiana prepared a high-water truck to drive through the floodwaters in Hurricane Ida's wake and assist residents in need

Guardsmen in Louisiana prepared a high-water truck to drive through the floodwaters in Hurricane Ida's wake and assist residents in need

Guardsmen in Louisiana prepared a high-water truck to drive through the floodwaters in Hurricane Ida’s wake and assist residents in need

Two guardsmen were preparing to survey the skies above Louisiana in one of 34 helicopters deployed by the agency following the Category 4 hurricane

Two guardsmen were preparing to survey the skies above Louisiana in one of 34 helicopters deployed by the agency following the Category 4 hurricane

Two guardsmen were preparing to survey the skies above Louisiana in one of 34 helicopters deployed by the agency following the Category 4 hurricane

Meanwhile, the levees – which had been upgraded since Hurricane Katrina devastated the area exactly 16 years ago – once again failed or were overtopped, leaving houses flooded with saturated sail turning parts of the city into a phenomenon known as brown ocean.

That sees saturated soils and swampy ground absorb very low quantities of rain water from storms or hurricanes, or none at all. The phenomenon meant Ida barely lost power after it hit the New Orleans shoreline on Sunday afternoon. Scientists say relatively warm groundwater also helped ramp up Ida’s power even more.  

Ida’s strength was so ferocious that it pushed water flowing out into the Gulf of Mississippi back into the Mississippi River, causing ‘negative flow’ – water flowing backwards, Army Corps of Engineers Spokesman Ricky Boyette said.

There were four flash flood emergencies in place through parts of southeastern Louisiana. CNN reported, with between eight to 16 inches of rain in LaPlace, as local law enforcement reported flash flooding in Lafitte and Jean Lafitte.

Stream gauge reports continued to show rapid rises near the stream, and a flash flood emergency for Alliance continued Monday morning due to levee failure near Highway 23.

The National Weather Service warned these are extremely dangerous and life-threatening situations.

‘Do not attempt to travel unless you are fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order.’ 

The levees - which were strengthened after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 - failed and were overrun

The levees - which were strengthened after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 - failed and were overrun

The levees – which were strengthened after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 – failed and were overrun

Montegut fire chief Toby Henry walks back to his fire truck in the rain as firefighters cut through trees on the road in Bourg, Louisiana as Hurricane Ida passed over the town on Sunday

Montegut fire chief Toby Henry walks back to his fire truck in the rain as firefighters cut through trees on the road in Bourg, Louisiana as Hurricane Ida passed over the town on Sunday

Montegut fire chief Toby Henry walks back to his fire truck in the rain as firefighters cut through trees on the road in Bourg, Louisiana as Hurricane Ida passed over the town on Sunday

A police officer patrols past woman walking along Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. Anyone in need of emergency help was asked to go to their local patrol officer or go to their nearest fire station

A police officer patrols past woman walking along Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. Anyone in need of emergency help was asked to go to their local patrol officer or go to their nearest fire station

A police officer patrols past woman walking along Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. Anyone in need of emergency help was asked to go to their local patrol officer or go to their nearest fire station

A blown down sign lies on the street along Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, with a pair of plastic beads similar to those given out during New Orlean's famous Mardi Gras event

A blown down sign lies on the street along Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, with a pair of plastic beads similar to those given out during New Orlean's famous Mardi Gras event

A blown down sign lies on the street along Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, with a pair of plastic beads similar to those given out during New Orlean’s famous Mardi Gras event 

Greg Nazarko, manager of the Bourbon Bandstand bar on Bourbon Street, stands outside the club, where he rode out the storm, which left New Orleans without power on Monday

Greg Nazarko, manager of the Bourbon Bandstand bar on Bourbon Street, stands outside the club, where he rode out the storm, which left New Orleans without power on Monday

Greg Nazarko, manager of the Bourbon Bandstand bar on Bourbon Street, stands outside the club, where he rode out the storm, which left New Orleans without power on Monday

Police used flashlights early Monday to look through debris after a building collapsed from the effects of Hurricane Ida

Police used flashlights early Monday to look through debris after a building collapsed from the effects of Hurricane Ida

Police used flashlights early Monday to look through debris after a building collapsed from the effects of Hurricane Ida

Early Monday morning, guardsmen began search-and-rescue missions with other local and state agencies in Laplace, near New Orleans, and went door to door throughout the state to check on residents. Many are still stuck on the second-floor or the attics of their homes

Early Monday morning, guardsmen began search-and-rescue missions with other local and state agencies in Laplace, near New Orleans, and went door to door throughout the state to check on residents. Many are still stuck on the second-floor or the attics of their homes

Early Monday morning, guardsmen began search-and-rescue missions with other local and state agencies in Laplace, near New Orleans, and went door to door throughout the state to check on residents. Many are still stuck on the second-floor or the attics of their homes

Downtown buildings were lit up by backup generators as nearly 1 million people remained without power

Downtown buildings were lit up by backup generators as nearly 1 million people remained without power

Downtown buildings were lit up by backup generators as nearly 1 million people remained without power

The storm left the Buddy Bolden mural on the wall of The Little Gem Saloon in New Orleans in tatters

The storm left the Buddy Bolden mural on the wall of The Little Gem Saloon in New Orleans in tatters

The storm left the Buddy Bolden mural on the wall of The Little Gem Saloon in New Orleans in tatters

Anyone needing emergency help was urged to go to their nearest fire station or approach their nearest officer. 

Some people also took to social media to post their addresses and locations, asking for help, with officials promising rescue efforts would begin in the early morning hours of Monday, as it moved into Mississippi. 

In a Sunday news conference, Louisiana Governor Edwards said rescue crews would not be able to immediately help those who were stranded, and warned the state could see weeks of recovery.

‘Many, many people are going to be tested in ways that we can only imagine today,’ he said, but added: ‘There is always light after darkness, and I can assure you we are going to get through this.’  

Three storms are being monitored in the Atlantic as Ida approaches Mississippi 

As Louisiana residents recover from the damage caused by Hurricane Ida, three more storm systems are being monitored in the Atlantic Ocean.

The National Hurricane Center has been watching Tropical Storm Julian, which was briefly named the 10th storm of 2021 and formed in the Atlantic around the same time that Hurricane Ida reached the mainland U.S. However, Julian was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone by early Monday morning and is projected to dissipate before reaching land.

In addition, a storm system known as Tropical Depression 10 is expected to become Tropical Storm Kate on Wednesday or Thursday. Kate is then expected to continue its course over the Atlantic, without making landfall.

The hurricane-tracking organization sent out an advisory at 5am on Monday, noting that the system was about 775 miles east-northeast of the Leeward Islands with maximum sustained winds at about 35mph with higher gusts.

‘[It] remains distinctly possible that the depression could become a remnant low (post-tropical cyclone) if its convection is completely stripped away,’ the National Hurricane Center wrote in an advisory.

There are also two disturbances and, if either grow strong enough, would be named Tropical Storm Larry. One of the disturbances is east of the Delmarva Peninsula and is drifting out into the Atlantic off the coasts of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, with little chance of it ending up over the United States. 

Another storm is expected to emerge off the coast of Africa later today and has a high chance of becoming a tropical depression later this week, with a 60 per cent chance in the next two days and an 80 per cent chance in the next five. It is project to move west and northwest over the eastern Atlantic, according to the Miami Herald.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Ida was weakened to a tropical storm as it passed over Mississippi on Monday and flood warnings are in place for Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky. The storm flooded much of New Orleans, overpowering the levees which were strengthened after Hurricane Katrina hit the area on the same date 16 years ago.

Hurricane season is expected to reach its peak on September 10 and continue to last until November 30. 

 

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Rescue operations began around 3 a.m. Monday, the governor said in his interview with MSNBC, with 900 search and rescue personnel from 16 different states assisting with the efforts as some residents continue to shelter on the second-floors of their homes or in their attics.

Matthew Marchetti, a spokesman for Houston-based nonprofit Crowdsource Rescue, said the group had rescued about 150 people out of the 1,000 reports it received in Louisiana.

The group currently has three teams operating in LaPlace and are en route to Lafitte in hopes of assisting rescue efforts there. But, he told CNN, that is going to be difficult.

‘Lafitte is a bit of a technical challenge,’ he said, calling it a ‘long boat ride because of road issues.’  

Crews Monday morning assessed the damage from the storm. 

‘Unfortunately, the worst case scenario seems to have happened,’ Louisiana’s Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee said, adding that some houses are flooded with water that’s ‘beyond chest high. It’s up to the top of the roof.’

The weather conditions and power outages made it tough for teams to work overnight.

‘This is an area that has a lot of swampland, alligators, very dangerous conditions. They had to wait for the sun to come up this morning. They had a strategy,’ Lee explained to CNN. ‘We have people out there ready to clear roads. We’re going to have boats, high-water vehicles. Our first responders are ready to go. They just needed the daylight to be able to do their best work.’ 

She called for a mandatory curfew for all of the parish from 6 a.m. Monday through at least 6 a.m. Tuesday. All residents are urged to stay off the roads during this time.

The storm slammed the barrier island of Grand Isle and blew off the roofs of buildings around Port Fourchon as it made landfall early Sunday morning and churned its way through the southern Louisiana wetlands, over the state’s petrochemical corridor, threatening  more than 2 million people living in and around New Orleans and Baton Rouge on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Many did not have enough money or resources to flee from the fast-approaching storm.

By late Sunday, significant flooding was reported in LaPlace and in places like LaFitte, where a barge struck a swinging bridge.

And on Monday, LaFourche Parish officials said re-entry into the area will be delayed for up to a week ‘due to conditions created by Hurricane Ida,’ saying in a news release: ‘LaFourche Parish roads are currently unpassable and will be for some time.’

Officials said first responders will be ‘working around the clock to clear the roads for residents to return,’ as a curfew remains in affect.

The area is also under a boil water advisory, the officials said, with many residents completely without water.

And in Sidell, Louisiana, Mayor Greg Comer said, there is flooding in ‘every neighborhood in town,’ and local officials had to deploy boats to conduct water rescues on Monday.

‘In about a three-hour period, we had probably a five to six foot rise in the bayou and the lake estuary system that pushed water into a number of people’s homes on the south side of our community,’ he explained.

‘We had to deploy boats at 4:00 this morning and do water rescues,’ he told CNN, noting they had already taken 15 people off their roofs in these water rescues.

Some people also waded out into waist-deep water to flag down police officers, Comer said, ‘and we were able to get in there and find these folks, but it has been a pretty long morning for our first responders, our police officers and some of our firemen.’

He now hopes to have power back to the region in three to five days ‘which would be much, much quicker than the two weeks it took after Katrina.’ 

But the worst of it, he fears, may not be over.

‘As the storm goes north and the winds shift out of a southeasterly direction to a southwesterly direction, it’ll start taking and pushing all the water that’s in [Lake Pontchartrain] and it begins to stack up on our side of the lake, and we’ll see another rise in water, we think, this afternoon.’

The United States Coast Guard office in the region received more than a dozen reports of breakaway barges, Petty Officer Gabriel Wisdom told the Associated Press.

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality was also in contact with more than 1,500 oil refineries, chemical plants and other petrochemical plants, and will respond to any reported pollution leaks or petroleum spills, agency spokesman Greg Langley said. 

Ida hit New Orleans on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

Ida hit New Orleans on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

Ida hit New Orleans on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

The storm’s top wind speed on Monday was 60 mph, and forecasters expect it will weaken drastically as it dumps rain on Mississippi. 

It was centered about 65 miles south-southwest of Jackson, Mississippi this morning, heading north at 8 mph with sustained winds of 45 mph.

It is expected to bring strong winds throughout the day, which could knock out the power for even more residents.

A tornado risk will also continue to the east of the center of circulation, according to FOX News, and heavy rain is going to be the biggest concern as the remnants move into the Mid-South, Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast in the coming days.

Three to six inches of rain is expected along Ida’s path, including through southern New England, where the ground is already saturated from Tropical Storm Henri one week ago.  

Too poor to flee Ida: Low income families who can’t afford gas or a hotel are forced to stay home and risk being killed by hurricane 

 Some low income families in Louisiana are being forced to stay at their homes in Hurricane Ida’s wake because they can’t afford the gas or hotel room to relocate somewhere safer.    

Such was the case for Robert Owens, 27, who recalled the ‘terrifying feeling’ of watching lines of cars fleeing from Baton Rouge, where he lives with his wife, mother-in-law, a roommate and four pets.    

‘Our bank account is empty – we can´t afford to leave,’ he said.  

Out of desperation, Owens went to ACE Cash Express on Saturday and submitted documents for a payday loan. He was denied, however, and told he didn´t have enough credit history.

Hurricane Ida reached the US mainland at 11.55am on Sunday, swamping the barrier island of Grand Isle as landfall came just to the west at Port Fourchon, Louisiana. At that point, Owens realized that his family would have to ride out the storm in their duplex apartment.  

Owens said the majority of people in his low-income neighborhood are in the same predicament. They want to leave to protect families, but have no choice but to stay.

‘A lot of us here in my neighborhood have to just hunker down and wait, not knowing how bad it´s going to get,’ he said.  

Many residents struggled to evacuate to safer locations, but others lacked the funds to do so and had to stay in their homes and hope for the best. Above, a car got stuck in the storm's floodwaters in Bay St Louis, Mississippi

Many residents struggled to evacuate to safer locations, but others lacked the funds to do so and had to stay in their homes and hope for the best. Above, a car got stuck in the storm's floodwaters in Bay St Louis, Mississippi

Many residents struggled to evacuate to safer locations, but others lacked the funds to do so and had to stay in their homes and hope for the best. Above, a car got stuck in the storm’s floodwaters in Bay St Louis, Mississippi 

One included Robert Owens, 27, of Baton Rouge, said he feared the storm's 150mph winds would rip the roof off his duplex apartment

One included Robert Owens, 27, of Baton Rouge, said he feared the storm's 150mph winds would rip the roof off his duplex apartment

One included Robert Owens, 27, of Baton Rouge, said he feared the storm’s 150mph winds would rip the roof off his duplex apartment

Hurricane Ida reached the US mainland at 11.55am on Sunday, swamping the barrier island of Grand Isle as landfall came just to the west at Port Fourchon, Louisiana

Hurricane Ida reached the US mainland at 11.55am on Sunday, swamping the barrier island of Grand Isle as landfall came just to the west at Port Fourchon, Louisiana

 Hurricane Ida reached the US mainland at 11.55am on Sunday, swamping the barrier island of Grand Isle as landfall came just to the west at Port Fourchon, Louisiana

A young girl blocked her face from the wind and rain produced by Hurricane Ida on Sunday in New Orleans

A young girl blocked her face from the wind and rain produced by Hurricane Ida on Sunday in New Orleans

A young girl blocked her face from the wind and rain produced by Hurricane Ida on Sunday in New Orleans

‘There people who have funds to lean on are able to get out of here, but there´s a big chunk of people that are lower-income that don´t have a savings account to fall on,’ he continued. ‘We´re left behind.’  

By Sunday night at 9pm, Owens said his family and all others in his neighborhood had lost power. The sky was lighting up green from transformers blowing up all around them, he said. 

Several trees had collapsed on neighbor’s properties, but it was too dark to see the full extent of the damage. Owens said they were trying to use a flashlight to survey the street, but were wary of jeopardizing their safety.

‘Never in my life have I encountered something this major,’ he said as giant gusts rattled his home’s windows.

Meanwhile, about 30 miles southeast, authorities announced the storm’s first death after a 60-year-old man died when a tree fell on his home in Ascension Parish on Sunday night.    

By Monday morning, more than 1 million customers in Louisiana lost power –  including thousands in Baton Rouge – according to PowerOutage.US, which tracks outages nationwide. 

Owens said there were a few times when it sounded like the roof of his duplex might come off. He said his wife was packing a bag of clothes and essentials, just in case.

‘We’ll shelter in the car if we lose the house,’ he said. The family all share his wife’s Toyota Avalon, a vehicle ‘not nearly big enough’ to shelter four people, three dogs and a cat.

A utility worker photographed waves as they slammed against a sea wall on Sunday

A utility worker photographed waves as they slammed against a sea wall on Sunday

A utility worker photographed waves as they slammed against a sea wall on Sunday

A man took pictures of high waves along the shore of Lake Pontchartrain as Hurricane Ida neared on Sunday

A man took pictures of high waves along the shore of Lake Pontchartrain as Hurricane Ida neared on Sunday

A man took pictures of high waves along the shore of Lake Pontchartrain as Hurricane Ida neared on Sunday

Earlier in the day, Owens said he was hurriedly placing towels under leaking windows in his duplex and charging electronics. He tried to go to Dollar General and Dollar Tree to pick up food, but they were closed. His family has lights glued around the walls of the house. They planned to hide in the laundry room or the kitchen when the storm hits – places without windows.

‘There´s a general feeling of fear in not knowing what´s going to be the aftermath of this,’ he said. ‘That´s the most concerning thing. Like, what are we going to do if it gets really bad? Will we still be alive? Is a tree going fall on top of us?’

Owens said his mother-in-law is on disability. His roommates both work for Apple iOS tech support. His wife works scheduling blood donations. All of them rely on the internet to work from home, and if it goes out, they won´t be able to bring in any money.

‘We might be without work, and rent, power, water, all of those bills will still be needing to get paid,’ he said. ‘We are a little bit concerned about losing our utilities or even our house – if it’s still standing – because we´re not going to have the money for any other bills.’

He said it’s hard to feel so vulnerable, like his family is getting left behind.

‘The fact that we are not middle class or above, it just kind of keeps coming back to bite us over and over again, in so many different directions and ways – a simple pay-day advance being one of them,’ he said. ‘It´s like we´re having to pay for being poor, even though we´re trying to not be poor.

 

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Tips to Find Low Priced Luxury Holiday Package Deals Fast

For most families, it has already been a common practice to spend the Holiday season in a foreign location. This is caused by the aviation market changes which have given a lot of benefits for people who travel a lot. Airfares going to different tourist destinations are becoming more inexpensive. What does this mean? If there is a perfect time to purchase luxury holiday package deals, now it the right time! Based on the market trend nowadays, you can save both money and time when you go for a luxury holiday. There are countless offers that combine travel and accommodation in one package which is a lot cheaper than getting separate deals. Aside from that, it is also risky to individually book the services that you need for the vacation. You might end up missing out on some important details of the trip. Unlike when you take advantage of luxury holiday package deals, you can be sure that everything is organized meticulously and according to what you really need. Nonetheless, you would still need to carefully select the package that would fit your needs. Review the following tips in getting packages that are reasonably priced. · Normally, luxury tour packages include accommodation, flight travel and transportation to individual tourist destinations. It would be best to choose the complete package so you won’t have to worry about other vacation elements. In addition to that, these are the packages that have the biggest discounts. · You can get big mark down prices, if you will purchase more packages. It is not a bad idea to share the wonderful moment with your loved ones. By doing so, you would not only enjoy, you will also save more money. You can even use your savings for other activities on your vacation. · It would be best to know how much you are willing to pay for the luxury tour packages. You can already work around your budget. You have to stick to your budget. If not, you might end up spending a lot and you will be left with less money for your vacation. · Prices may vary depending on the destination of the tour. You can do a research about places that are attractive yet inexpensive. There are thousands of destinations and you just have to choose wisely. · There are packages that include recreational activities. This means that you are paying for all the activities when you purchase these packages. The right thing to do is to make sure that the activities that are included would be the ones that you really enjoy. There is no sense in paying for activities that will not really make your vacation memorable. If you are going with friends, you should also consider their preferences so that you can be sure that everyone will enjoy the trip. There are other ways on how you can be sure that you are getting the best deal for your luxury holiday vacation. No matter how you choose to do it, you have to get adequate information about the packages. This will help you determine whether it is worth the price.

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