More than 200 people in a small Louisiana town are in ‘imminent danger’ due to flash floods caused by Hurricane Ida, after heavy rain and storm surge over-topped the levee.
The National Weather Service warned of potentially life-threatening flash flooding in the town of Jean Lafitte, 20 miles south of New Orleans.
Floodwater was reportedly between 10 to 12 feet, sustained winds in the area have reached up to 70 mph.
The town’s mayor, Tim Kerner, warned that winds are too strong to deploy rescue missions.
‘There’s not a captain that would agree to go in the water right now,’ Kerner said. ‘Trust me, we’ve tried.’
He said that more than 200 people are grounded in the high water and that the storm’s wind make the area inaccessible for rescue crews.
Kerner said: ‘This is the worst storm surge in the history of Lafitte. I’ve never seen so much (water) in my life. I think tomorrow is going to be more bad news.’
Videos posted on social media by local Cindy Sassoni showed the swelling waters at from a boat at Nick’s Marina, on the southern side of Jean Lafitte.
A video posted to Facebook shows the swelling water at a marina in Jean Lafitte, on the tip of the state’s mainland
In the clip she says: ‘This is sustained winds. I know there’s a lot of people needing to be rescued, and a lot of people wanting to help, but this is the conditions we are dealing with.
‘The neighborhoods are pretty much underwater. Even some of the houses that were lifted have water in them. Anything lower than that, if you’re on the ground you probably have water to your roof.’
Other residents in the area have begged for help on Twitter.
One asked people to ‘let someone know where we are in Jean Lafitte’ and that the water is ‘constantly rising.’
Mayor Kerner said that he will send help out as soon as the wind starts to calm down before reassuring residents that they will be safe as long as they seek shelter in high level areas of their homes.
‘If you’re in an attic, you’re on a roof, rest assured you’re going to be all right,’ he told WDSU television.
‘Once you see that wind starting to die down, look on the horizon, because we’re coming.’
One resident and his family begged for help on Twitter, asking people to ‘let someone know where we are in Jean Lafitte’ and that the water is ‘constantly rising’
A flash flood warning has been put in place in the area until 6.45 a.m. Monday morning.
‘This is a PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION,’ the NWS reported. ‘SEEK HIGHER GROUND NOW!’
The storm is so powerful that Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said that first responders will have to wait until sunrise on Monday to search for stranded residents even as reports surface of trapped victims.
Edwards told CNN on Sunday that authorities are aware of distress calls from across southeast Louisiana, including Jean Lafitte in Jefferson Parish.
Mayor Tim Kerner broke the news that Jean Lafitte’s Tidal Levees had overtopped on Sunday evening on Twitter
Mayor Tim Kerner said on Twitter that ‘rescue boats’ will be in the area ‘as soon as the weather permits
According to the governor, however, conditions as of late Sunday simply do not allow for crews to offer assistance.
‘At the height of a hurricane you can’t get first responders out because it’s just simply too dangerous. The wind speeds don’t allow for that,’ Edwards told CNN.
‘Just as soon as we can, we will be engaged in very robust search and rescue operations.’
The storm is so powerful that Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said that first responders will have to wait until sunrise on Monday to search for stranded residents
When the storm calms, there will be around 21 urban search and rescue teams from some 15 states that will search for those stranded, according to the governor, who said that the extent of the damage won’t be known until Monday morning.
‘Nobody is out of the woods in southeast Louisiana yet,’ the governor said.
‘We’ll be dealing with this until sometime after midnight.’