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A truck drives through high water near Highway 61 in Destrehan, Louisiana. Photo: Patrick Fallon/AFP via Getty images

The deadly former Hurricane Ida was bringing heavy rains, "dangerous" flash flooding, storm surge and extreme winds as the tropical depression moved northeast across Mississippi overnight.

Threat level: "Ida will continue to produce heavy rainfall tonight through Tuesday morning across portions of southeast Louisiana, Mississippi, and western Alabama, resulting in considerable flash and urban flooding and significant river flooding impacts," the National Hurricane Center warned.

  • The agency added that as Ida moves inland, "additional considerable flooding impacts" are likely across portions of the Tennessee Valley, the Ohio Valley, and particularly in the Central and Southern Appalachians, into the Mid-Atlantic through Wednesday.
  • As of 10 p.m. ET, Ida was some 80 miles north-northeast of Jackson, Miss., with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, according to the NHC. It continued to crawl northeast at 10 mph.

State of play: More than 1 million people, including most of New Orleans, remained without power as of early Tuesday, per poweroutage.us. In Mississippi, nearly 60,000 customers had lost power.

  • "It will likely take days to determine the extent of damage to our power grid and far longer to restore electrical transmission to the region," Energy provider Entergy Louisiana tweeted Monday.
  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki said: "We're working with companies to get the power back on. That could take weeks. We don't know."
  • New Orleans officials urged those who evacuated to not return "until further notice," saying "there is widespread debris, power remains out, and emergency services are working to respond to those still in the city."
Category 4 Hurricane Ida after making its second landfall in Louisiana on Aug. 29, 2021. (CIRA/RAMMB)

The big picture: Ida made landfall in Port Fourchon, Louisiana, as a Category 4 storm on Sunday afternoon, with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph. Preliminary reports suggest it's the fifth-strongest storm "ever to make landfall in the continental U.S.," according to NASA Earth.

  • A ship in Port Fourchon reported a sustained wind of 149 mph and a gust to 172 mph when the storm made landfall.
  • Ida weakened Sunday evening to a Category 3 hurricane before weakening again, but it still caused devastation across southern Louisiana.
  • Wind gusts of up to 90 mph were reported in New Orleans on Sunday.

What to watch: Numerous oil and gas facilities and chemical plants were in the path of some of the strongest winds and storm surge, including the strategic Port Fourchon, which is integral to the Gulf of Mexico's oil and gas production.

  • Damage to infrastructure there and upriver, between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, could lead to environmental hazards and delays in resuming oil and gas production in the Gulf.

Context: The rapid intensification, which exceeded forecasts, was due to extremely warm ocean waters and ideal conditions in the atmosphere as well. The Gulf of Mexico served as gasoline thrown onto the fire of the storm.

  • Human-caused climate change, by warming air and ocean temperatures, is leading to both stronger and wetter hurricanes, and also more storms that rapidly intensify.
  • The Gulf of Mexico has seen a recent trend of storms like Ida, which strengthen right up through landfall, whereas this used to be extremely uncommon (even Hurricane Katrina weakened as it neared land).

Go deeper: Meteorologists ahead of Hurricane Ida arrival: "We can't bear to see this on satellite"

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

California faces "critical" wildfire risk on Thanksgiving

Computer model projection of maximum wind gusts on Wednesday into Thanksgiving Day in the Los Angeles area. Darker reds correspond to 70 mph winds. (Weatherbell.com)

Southern California is facing an intense Santa Ana wind event over the Thanksgiving holiday, with "critical" wildfire risk since very little rain has fallen in this region so far this wet season.

Why it matters: Fire danger is forecast to be highest from Wednesday through Friday, and any wildfire that ignites could become a conflagration that’s difficult to stop.

6 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dems fear supply-chain blame

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As supply-chain kinks drive up prices and disrupt holiday shopping, Democrats are scrambling to show action and deflect blame.

Why it matters: With their party controlling both the White House and Capitol, vulnerable Democrats worry supply-chain snafus will hurt them in next year's midterms.

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