Tropical Depression Ida has weakened from a tropical storm as it moved through the U.S. South Monday into Tuesday, sparing the city of New Orleans after a devastating strike, but hammering nearby cities with damaging heavy rain and winds.
Hurricane Ida, which struck on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, reached winds of 150 mph -- tying it for the fifth-strongest hurricane ever to hit the mainland.
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LAPLACE, La. (AP) – Debbie Greco and her family cowered on a stairway landing as Hurricane Ida sent 4 feet (1.2 meters) of muddy water rushing into her home in LaPlace along the west side of Lake Pontchartrain.
She and her son had safely rescued her elderly parents from their home down the street Sunday. But now they prayed the roof would not collapse on all of them.
“God blessed us that we all survived,” she said Monday after they were rescued by boat.
While New Orleans largely escaped catastrophic flooding during the storm, LaPlace and other nearby communities were not so lucky.
In LaPlace, Ida tore roofs off homes and flooded entire subdivisions. Residents retreated to their second floors or attics and took to social media to plead for boat rescues as the water rose.
That assistance came on Monday, when rescue trucks and boats on trailers took people to safety. Other residents got to dry ground by wading through knee-deep water carrying pets and other belongings.
Dozens of people pulled pieces of chimneys, gutters and other parts of their homes to the curb.
“My dreams are destroyed,” said John Vincent, 65, another LaPlace resident. “I mean, at my age I’ve got to start all over.”
New Orleans’ levee system — overhauled at a cost of billions of dollars after Hurricane Katrina breached it — held up against Ida’s rampage. Ida struck on the 16th anniversary of Katrina, which devastated the city and was blamed for 1,800 deaths in 2005.
But in LaPlace, work only recently began on a long-awaited levee project that isn’t expected to be completed until 2024.