Hurricane Ida made landfall Aug. 29, 2021, at 11:55 a.m. CDT as an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane near Port Fourchon, La., with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph. Preliminary reports from NASA suggest that the hurricane is the fifth-strongest storm ever to make landfall in the United States.
According to Entergy New Orleans and Entergy Louisiana, the utilities serving the region, those in the hardest-hit areas could experience power outages for weeks.
As of 9:00 a.m., Monday, August 30, Entergy, the utilities’ parent company, reported nearly 900,000 power outages in Louisiana and 45,000 in Mississippi due to Ida’s destruction.
The catastrophic intensity of Hurricane Ida’s winds, rain and storm surges caused many major transmission lines delivering power into the New Orleans area to be out of service.
“At 8 a.m. across our service area, 216 substations, 207 transmission lines, and more than 2,000 miles of transmission lines are out of service,” according to the utilities. “We know of one transmission line that spans the Mississippi River that is down. The destroyed tower withstood Hurricane Katrina that struck the area in 2005.”
Where weather permitted and where it was safe to do so, the utilities’ crews were out at first light to assess damage.
“This will help us get a better idea of what we’re dealing with,” utilities stated. “It would be premature to speculate at this time when power will be restored given the extent of the damage.”
Furthermore, road closures, flooding and other challenges to accessing lines and equipment due to the storm are affecting line crews’ ability to reach some areas, and could thus delay power restoration in those communities.
In harder-to-reach areas, the utility will be using advanced technology such as infrared cameras, drones and satellite imagery to assess damage by foot, vehicles, airboats, highwater vehicles and helicopters.
“Even so, lack of access in areas like waterways and marshes could delay our damage assessment,” according to the utilities. “While we are assessing damage, we will continue restoring service where it is safe to do so. These efforts are done in parallel.”