State officials confirmed Monday that a Louisiana man drowned inside his car as the second death caused by Hurricane Ida.
The man, who has not been identified, died on I-10 while attempting to drive through floodwaters, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.
“LDH sadly confirms the death of a male who drowned after his vehicle attempted to go through floodwater near I-10 and West End Blvd. in New Orleans,” the post said. “His age is unknown at this time pending ID of the victim.”
Authorities said a 60-year-old man was killed when his car was hit by a falling tree in Ascension Parish on Sunday night, the storm’s first fatality after it slammed into Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane.
As search and rescue crews spread out, Louisiana Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards said Monday that officials expect the death toll from the monster storm to rise “considerably.”
Ida slammed into the Louisiana coast with 150 mph winds and dangerous storm surges, knocking out power to over 1 million utility customers, bringing down trees and causing flash floods that stranded hundreds of people.
After making landfall, Ida weakened to a tropical storm, but heavy rains, flash floods, and dangerous storm conditions are expected across much of the US Southeast through late Wednesday.
Ida also wreaked havoc on the state’s hospitals, exacerbating Louisiana’s COVID-19 crisis, which has overburdened health-care facilities, forcing four to fully evacuate.
According to NOLA.com, Ochsner Health, the state’s largest hospital system, over 160 patients were moved Monday after generators failed after the storm ripped off roofs and flooded several facilities.
Other hospitals said the storm caused “significant damage,” while others said they were running out of backup power on Monday.
“I hate to say it this way, but we have a lot of people on ventilators today and they don’t work without electricity,” Bel Edwards said.
The COVID-19 Delta variant has wreaked havoc in several states, including Louisiana.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health, there are 2,684 COVID patients in hospitals, with more than 12,000 deaths and nearly 380,000 confirmed cases so far in the pandemic.