Hurricane Ida Turns Deadly With Hundreds Stranded in 'Imminent Danger'

Hundreds of people in Louisiana are stranded and are in "imminent danger" from Hurricane Ida after floodwaters reached more than 10 feet in height, making it impossible for first responders to reach them.

The affected areas are St. John the Baptist and Jefferson Parishes, with Mayor Tim Kerner of the town of Jean Lafitte saying that a levee was overtopped by the floodwaters. The town lies just outside the Jefferson Parish levee protection system.

The news comes following the first death from Hurricane Ida on Sunday. Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office reported on its Facebook that a 60-year-old man had been killed shortly after 8.30 pm local time by a fallen tree.

Kerner told Louisiana's WGNO-TV that the hurricane had brought "total devastation" and was "catastrophic."

He said that some 200 people were now in danger.

Jean Lafitte Police Chief Marcel Rodriguez said he believed at least 400 people had not been able to follow the mandatory evacuation order for physical or financial reasons.

The exact number of people in potential danger is not clear.

"We have a small group trying to take out the people in the most imminent danger," Kerner said.

"This is a very dangerous situation. I've never seen so much water in my life. We've lost our school and everything, but now with people's lives, it has turned into a total rescue mission," he said.

"People's lives are I believe at stake now," Kerner went on. "We are trying to get them out as soon as fast as we can and as soon as this weather [breaks] we are going to send an army to them."

Kerner said that the flood wall that was protecting his town was 7.5 feet high but the floodwaters rose to over 10 feet.

"It really turned into a rescue mission, and we had to save what was left of the town where the kids go to school, where they get married here and where so many people live. But in the end, the water won out," he said.

St. John the Baptist Parish authorities reported that they have received a large number of calls from stranded residents who could not be reached by first responders late on Sunday. Residents in the town of LaPlace have been pleading for help amid the floodwaters.

Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office reported on the first death late on Sunday, writing on Facebook: "Shortly after 8:30 p.m. deputies received reports of a citizen possibly injured from a fallen tree at a residence off of Highway 621 in Prairieville. Deputies arrived on scene and confirmed that the victim is now deceased."

Hurricane Ida made landfall in the U.S. at 11.55 pm E.T. on Sunday with Category 4 winds of 150mph and gusts up to 165mph. Since making landfall, the hurricane has gradually weakened and is now a Category 1.

The entire city of New Orleans has been left without power and power outages have now extended into neighboring Mississippi. Overall, there are 1,082,955 customers in both states without electricity.

Ida Brings High Winds to New Orleans
A vehicle drives through rain and high winds across Canal Street in New Orleans, Louisiana on August 29, 2021 during Hurricane Ida. One person has been killed and hundreds more are reportedly in "imminent danger." PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP/Getty Images