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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — For the nearly one million customers currently without power following the catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Ida on Sunday, Entergy says help is on the way.

A team of more than 20,000 has begun assessing the destruction across New Orleans and southeast Louisiana. The hurricane’s category 4-rated winds and torrential rainfall toppled transmission, power poles and other equipment, causing outages for approximately 895,000 customers.

Ida also knocked all eight high-voltage transmission line out of service for Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes, as well as parts of St. Charles and Terrebonne.

“At 150 mph, Hurricane Ida’s winds were incredibly devastating,” said Phillip May, Entergy Louisiana president and CEO. “We continue looking at options to restore power to those parishes that are out.”

According to Entergy, the full assessment of damage could take several days, since many areas are currently inaccessible either by roadways. Restoration could take weeks, but Entergy says up to 90 percent of customers will be restored sooner.

“This will be a marathon, not a sprint,” said Deanna Rodriguez, Entergy New Orleans president and CEO. “We’re working as safely and quickly as we can, but recovery will vary depending on the damage incurred and its location.

“We must all be prepared for the recovery to take some time,” she continued. “While too early in the process to give approximate restoration times, our focus remains on getting the assessments completed so that we can begin to provide more guidance to customers as soon as possible. 

“We appreciate our customer’s patience and will continue to provide updates as they become available.”

Entergy warns that the greatest danger after this type of storm remains downed power lines and electrical equipment. If anyone sees a power line or electrical equipment on the ground or in the trees or bushes – do not go near it. Call and report it at 800-9OUTAGE (800-968-8243).

Entergy also warns customers of the dangers of natural gas.

“If customers smell natural gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and leave the area immediately. Do not operate electrical switches. Call the gas company from a nearby building and don’t re-enter until it’s safe to do so,” a statement from the company read.