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JEA Crews Helping With Power Outages As Ida Slams Louisiana

A man takes pictures of high waves along the shore of Lake Pontchartrain as Hurricane Ida nears, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in New Orleans.
A man takes pictures of high waves along the shore of Lake Pontchartrain as Hurricane Ida nears, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in New Orleans.

Power outages continue to have widespread impact in Louisiana, and are now extending into Mississippi, as JEA crews from Jacksonville and other utilities have traveled to the Gulf Coast to help get the power back on once it’s safe to do so.

JEA crews in more than 30 trucks left for Louisiana Sunday morning to provide mutual aid to Louisiana utilities affected by Hurricane Ida. In sending the crews the utility said, "Jacksonville has been the recipient of mutual aid assistance when we have been impacted by hurricanes many times in the past, and JEA crews are honored to return the favor to Louisiana residents."

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Credit JEA
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JEA crews are pictured leaving Jacksonville to assist in restoring power in Louisiana.

NPR reported more than a million people were without power across Louisiana and Mississippi  Monday. 

All of Orleans Parish lost power on Sunday night due to "catastrophic damage" to the local utility company's transmission system, according to NPR.

Earlier in the day, Entergy New Orleans — the electric utility that provides power to New Orleans and surrounding parishes — said the hardest-hit areas could have outages "for weeks."

The only power in New Orleans was being provided by generators. There are concerns about how this will affect the city’s pumping systems. Half of New Orleans is at or below sea level.

Florida search-and-rescue teams and utility crews have also deployed to help. Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, who doubles as the state fire marshal, said search-and-rescue teams will assist with storm recovery.

Also, the Florida Municipal Electric Association said it has assembled crews to help with restoring electricity after the storm. The association said nearly 85 workers from seven public utilities are arriving in Louisiana through Monday.

"This is one of the strongest storms to make landfall in modern times," Louisiana Gov. John Bell Edwards said in a Sunday afternoon briefing

It will take at least six weeks to return power to a large section of Louisiana’s coast, Jefferson Parish emergency management director Joe Valiente told NPR. Jefferson Parish is now under a mandatory curfew through 6 a.m. on Tuesday.

“Damage is incredible” from what was a Category 4 storm at landfall, Valiente said, describing hundreds of trees that crashed onto power lines, houses and streets as they were uprooted by Ida’s strong winds.

For the latest on Hurricane Ida visit our national news section.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.