Hurricane Ida: More than half of downed cell towers back online

William Taylor Potter
Lafayette Daily Advertiser
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Damage from Hurricane Ida, photographed Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in Grand Isle, Louisiana.

Around a quarter of cellular sites in Southeast Louisiana remained offline Thursday, though more than half of the towers initially knocked out have been repaired, according to a report from the Federal Communications Commission.

As of Thursday at 11 a.m., 704 of the affected area's 2,759 cellular sites are still down. The affected area includes Acadiana and Southeast Louisiana. On Monday, more than half of the cellular sites were down.

About 61% of the remaining offline towers are without power, according to the FCC, and a little more than a quarter have sustained damage to their network that transports communications to and from the site. About 15% of sites have physical damage from the storm.

Some sites may be offline for more than one reason.

The parishes that saw the most widespread damage to their cellular networks were Terrebonne, Assumption and Lafourche.

On Monday, all the towers in Terrebonne and Assumption Parishes were offline, as were 95% of those in Lafourche.

As of Wednesday, the three parishes had seen significant progress in restoring their networks. Fifteen of Assumption Parish's 19 towers are online, as are 42 of Terrebonne Parish's 81. Lafourche Parish still has more than half of its sites down, with 32 of 78 online.

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Only three parishes still have more than half of their sites offline: Lafourche, Plaquemines and St. James. About 73% of Plaquemines' towers are down, as are 76% of St. James Parish's sites.

Jefferson Parish has about half of its 289 sites down, according to the FCC.

Of the seven counties affected in Alabama, around 2% of cell sites are offline. In Mississippi, where 62 counties were impacted, around 1.5% of towers are down.

Two TV stations, KFOL and WYES-DT, remain offline. Eleven FM radio stations are down, including KKND, KLXH, KMEZ, KNOL, W208FC, WBKL, WFMA, WJDR, WNKV, WSSM and WZRH. One FM station, KVDU, is sending programming through another station.

Four AM radio stations are offline: WCJU, WHSY, WSHO, WWWL and WYLD.

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