Hurricane Ida claims first victim as 150mph winds leave behind destruction
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A person has been killed as Hurricane Ida continues on its 'catastrophic' path in southeast Louisiana on Sunday.
Federal authorities reported destruction as the hurricane made landfall as the governor called it "one of the strongest storms to make landfall here in modern times."
It comes after New Orleans was plunged into darkness and left without power, with fears it could be weeks before it returns.
The city's sewage system is also threatened.
Deputies confirmed a person was dead in Prairieville, around 15 miles southeast of Baton Rouge.
No details of the incident have been available, but the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office said officers were dispatched at 8.30pm local time following reports a person may have been injured by a falling tree.
Reports of top winds of 150mph have been recorded as fears the hurricane could remain late into the night.
Furthermore, The National Hurricane Center said the region could see tornadoes into Monday, from southeast Louisiana all the way to Western Florida Panhandle.
By Sunday evening, the storm had been downgraded from a Category 4 to a Category 2 storm, with reported winds of 110pm.
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Electric utilities so far believe at least 966,500 homes and businesses are without power, but millions could be affected by the widespread outage.
The entire city of New Orleans has lost electricity due to 'catastrophic damage' to its transmission system, Energy New Orleans, said.
All flights have been cancelled at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, as US President Joe Biden deploys emergency response resources to the area.
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The loss of power could affect sewer pumping stations, as many are without backup power.
"This is going to be devastating — a devastating, a life-threatening storm," President Joe Biden said.
"So please, all you folks in Mississippi and in Louisiana … take precautions, listen, take it seriously."
Residents who didn't evacuate were urged to keep loose mattresses nearby by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, in case the strong winds rip roofs off homes.
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It was said roofs were expected to be damaged because "this is one of the strongest storms to make landfall here in modern times."
At landfall, the gusts were just short of 157mph, considered a Category 5 hurricane.
Only four storms have made landfall as the same high category over the past 100 years, being the Labor Day Hurricane in 1935, Camille in 1969, Andrew in 1992, and Michael in 2018.
Rainfall is predicted to top two feet in some parts, and in certain areas, residents may not be reached by emergency responders until Monday.
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