Hurricane Katrina plowed into the Gulf Coast today, leaving about one million homes and businesses in the region without power by midday - a number that's likely to rise as the storm roars inland and damage reports roll in, according to a report.

An Entergy Corp. spokesman told MarketWatch that at least 727,400 of its customers had lost power by 9 a.m. CDT. Entergy owns and operates power plants with about 30,000 MW of electric generating capacity and delivers electricity to 2.7 million across Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Entergy has 2000 line workers and additional tree trimmers ready to move out into the field to restore power once the storm sweeps through the region and conditions are deemed safe, Entergy’s spokesman said.

Hurricane Katrina knocked out power to approximately 70,000 Cleco customers, almost all of them in southeastern Louisiana as of 11 a.m. Monday. Pineville, Louisiana-based Cleco is securing more than 1500 workers to restore power once the worst of the storm, which made landfall as a category 4, clears its Louisiana territory. Crews from Oklahoma, the Carolinas and Florida will help restore power.

"We will restore power to our customers as quickly as possible, but our primary concern is safety," said Mike Clark, Cleco's manager of emergency management and energy delivery training. "We are not going to put our employees in harm's way. As soon as we consider it safe, we will move as quickly as possible to start restoration efforts.

Roughly 180,362 Alabama Power Co. customers, most in Mobile, Alabama, were without power at noon CDT Monday, the Southern Co. subsidiary said.