The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Houma, Louisiana, to Gulfport, Mississippi, as residents swelter in the wake of Hurricane Ida. The storm knocked out electricity to power air conditioning.
Why it matters: Heat tends to be the top weather-related killer annually in the U.S., and prolonged exposure to hot temperatures without any relief — either from air conditioning or cooler temperatures at night — significantly raises the risks of heat-related illness.
The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.
The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.
Crews were working to rescue people trapped by former Hurricane Ida's floodwaters as utility workers moved to try and restore power to over 1 million customers in Louisiana and nearly 60,000 others in Mississippi Monday, per AP.
The big picture: NASA Earth said preliminary data suggests Ida was the fifth-strongest storm "ever to make landfall in the continental U.S." when it hit Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane Sunday, leaving New Orleans with no electricity except power from generators.
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.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Monday the damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, one of the strongest hurricanes to hit the state on record, "is really catastrophic."
The latest: New Orleans' emergency services are back online and working to respond with power still out. The city has warned residents to beware of downed power lines, flood waters and storm debris.
Hurricane Ida jumped from a 105-mph Category 2 hurricane on Saturday to a high-end Category 4 monster by Sunday morning, in a feat enabled by climate change, seasonal timing and a dose of bad luck.
Why it matters: Understanding how Mother Nature's most powerful storms are changing is key to learning how to better protect coastal communities around the world — everywhere from the mega-cities of Southeast Asia to the small towns of the Louisiana Bayou.
Hurricane Ida has left over 1 million homes and businesses without power, mostly in Louisiana, after making landfall as a powerful Category 4 storm on Sunday.
Driving the news: Ida also greatly disrupted Gulf of Mexico and Gulf coast oil-and-gas and petrochemical operations, but the full scope of the damage — and environmental hazards — will take time to assess.
Hurricane Ida continued to lash Louisiana overnight, as the first death from the Category 2 storm was reported and an estimated 1 million-plus customers were left without power in the state.
The latest: President Biden approved Louisiana's disaster declaration late Sunday, enabling federal funding for parishes affected by the storm, which will go toward grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs.
Driving the news: Containment of the blaze dropped to 13% as it grew to over 168,000 acres Sunday amid extremely dry conditions. The wildfire razed at least four cabins near Echo Summit on Sunday, the Sacramento Bee notes.
Hurricane Ida lashed New Orleans Sunday evening on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina — with part of the deadly Category 2 storm pummeling the city with extremely heavy winds and rains.
What's happening: Officials confirmed that the city had lost all power "due to catastrophic transmission damage" from the storm, with the only electricity in New Orleans coming from generators amid reports of flash flooding from Ida's rains.