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NEW ORLEANS, LA — A fearsome Hurricane Ida left scores of coastal Louisiana residents trapped by floodwaters and pleading to be rescued Monday while making a shambles of the electrical grid across a wide swath of the state in the sweltering, late-summer heat.
One of the most powerful hurricanes ever to hit the U.S. mainland weakened into a tropical storm overnight as it pushed inland over Mississippi with torrential rain and shrieking winds, its danger far from over.
Ida was blamed for at least one death — someone hit by a falling tree outside Baton Rouge — but the full extent of its fury was still coming into focus at daybreak.
All of New Orleans lost power right around sunset Sunday as the hurricane blew ashore on the 16th anniversary of Katrina, leading to an uneasy night of pouring rain and howling wind. The weather died down shortly before dawn, and people began carefully walking around neighborhoods with flashlights, dodging downed light poles, pieces of roofs and branches.
“I had a long miserable night,” said Chris Atkins, who was in his New Orleans home when he heard a “kaboom” and all the sheetrock in the living room fell into the house. A short time later, the whole side of the living room fell onto his neighbor’s driveway.
Find out what’s happening in Across America with free, real-time updates from Patch.Your email addressLet’s go!“Lucky the whole thing didn’t fall inward. It would have killed us,” he said.
An area just west of New Orleans got about 17 inches of rain in 20 hours, Greg Carbin of NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center tweeted.
The flooding from the rain and surge in the maze of rivers and bayous south of New Orleans threatened hundreds of homes. On social media, people posted their addresses and directed search and rescue teams to their attics or rooftops.
Related: Chef José Andrés Helps Feed Louisiana After HurricaneRescuers moved to launch hundreds of boats into the floodwaters in the morning. The Louisiana National Guard said it activated 4,900 Guard personnel and lined up 195 high-water vehicles, 73 rescue boats and 34 helicopters. Local and state agencies were adding hundreds of more.
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