Hurricane Ida Update: ‘I Think People Should be Prepared for Several Weeks Before Full Power Restoration Comes On’

By A.J. Katz 

Hurricane Ida punished Southern Louisiana and the Gulf Coast on Sunday as a category 4 hurricane, and has now been downgraded to a tropical storm as of Monday morning.

Ida is about 65 miles south, southwest of Jackson, Miss., with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph moving at 8 mph, as per a 7 a.m. CDT update from the National Hurricane Center.

Here’s The Weather Channel’s Dave Malkoff reporting from Jackson early Monday:

The powerful storm has left New Orleans and most of southeast Louisiana without power.

“There’s over a million customers, right now, without power,” said FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell, who appeared on the morning shows Monday to provide updates. “I think people should be prepared for several weeks before full power restoration comes on. You know, we’re not going to be able to tell you exactly where it’s going to come on first.”

Correspondents filed reports from the field on Monday for cable and broadcast’s morning programming.

CBS News’ Omar Villafranca reported for CBS This Morning from New Orleans Monday, saying while there’s damage there also doesn’t appear to be widespread flooding like what transpired during Hurricane Katrina 16 years ago.

Villafranca did point out that there has been a lot of flooding on I-10, and that cars were submerged, “and drivers had to be rescued from their vehicles.”

He added: “Power is out, communication is down, and the sun is starting to come back up …”

Vlad Duthiers reported for CBS This Morning Monday from Albany, La, a small town east of Baton Rouge. There are a lot of downed trees and power trees that have blocked the roads there.

ABC News’ chief meteorologist Ginger Zee also reported from New Orleans. Yes, the city has been hit hard by Ida, but parishes to the west and south have been hit even harder.

Zee said: “I will say: I am really frightened because most of my crew don’t have cell service and that means people 30, 40 miles from us who are trapped don’t have cell service and have no way to get rescued. That is one thing hanging heavy on our hearts this morning.”

“I look all around, and we can hear the sound of generators,” Al Roker said from New Orleans at 6 a.m. local time. “It’s breezy and the rain has stopped, but of course we have a lot of devastation and we don’t know until the sun comes up what we are going to see…”

He added that EMS isn’t available, “Communications are down, and it is a disaster right now.”

NBC correspondent Sam Brock was previously reporting from LaPlace, which has been hit harder than New Orleans. It’s roughly 30 miles west of the city. However, he had to leave the area “because there was not enough service to report live from what I was seeing.”

Tom Llamas has been down in New Orleans to cover the hurricane for NBC News. With Lester Holt on vacation, Llamas will also anchor Nightly News from New Orleans Monday.

Here’s a tweet from his Monday morning coverage.

Derek Van Dam is on the ground in Houma for CNN. Included is the link to his report for Early Start, where he checks in at 4:30 a.m. local time.

Houma is in far worse shape than New Orleans.

“In our immediate vicinity, the winds have been the major story here. The wind factor will be catastrophic as we get first daylight in the coming hours,” Van Dam reported.

He added that there have been “very scary” moments not only for his team, “but also for the people who seek shelter here. You can imagine the people who don’t have sturdy concrete reinforced window buildings within the Terrebonne Parish, where I’m located — what they went through and what they’re going to be waking up to this up to this morning. The sounds of generators humming in the background, all too familiar from previous hurricane chases.”

Here’s video of New Orleans taken by Fox News correspondent Jeff Paul:

The video was taken after Paul filed a live report for Fox & Friends Monday, telling viewers that more than one million people are out of power in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Fox Weather multimedia journalist Will Nunley checked in to Fox & Friends later in the broadcast, reporting on the damage and flooding from what has now become “Tropical Storm Ida” in Pass Christian, Miss.