Three Killed In Louisiana Flooding As State Continues To Face Heavy Rain
Thousands have been evacuated.
Three people have died and thousands have been told to evacuate as Louisiana gets pounded in a second day of heavy rain across the state.
Roads have been submerged, state offices have been shuttered and some law enforcement agencies have resorted to boats and canoes to move some residents out of harm's way.
Extreme flooding in several parts of the state has also prompted officials to call in the National Guard, which has helped rescue more than 360 people, 70 dogs, 16 chickens and a guinea pig, according to the National Guard.
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service expects the state to continue seeing substantial rainfall in the next 24 hours, before the slow-moving storm is pushed east.
"The situation is critical and could remain so for a while," the agency said in a statement.
Flooding has forced the closure of several roads and highways across the state, and left some homes submerged.
Between 5 to 8 inches has fallen in some areas, but the National Weather Service said that because of the storm's slow trek across the state it has been hard to predict exactly how much rainfall will fall in the next day.
Up to a foot of rain could fall in some areas by the end of the weekend, it said.
"This morning it was touching the bottom of houses," Sharon Anderson, who was rescued with her three children and four grandchildren from her Bossier Parish home told the AP. "Now the steps on my back porch are under water and if you walk down the driveway, it's over the knee."
The rising waters has prompted the National Guard to use heavy vehicles to cross submerged roads in their rescues, and some local police departments to use boats and canoes to reach some areas.
The first death caused by the flooding in Louisiana was reported Wednesday night after a 63-year-old Bienville resident drove his truck around one of the many road closures across the state, and the vehicle was washed away by the waters, Louisiana State Police said.
A group of witnesses were able to get the couple inside out of the truck, but the 63-year-old driver died at the scene.
State officials are asking people not to go past roadblocks for their own safety, since the depth of the rising water in some areas is difficult to judge and could cause vehicles to be washed away.
A spokesman for the Governor's Office of Homeland Security told the Associated Press a 22-year-old man and a 6-year-old girl in Ouachita Parish have also died as a result of the flooding.
Louisiana's Governor, John Bel Edwards, has since issued a state of emergency and called on his Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and other state agencies to respond to the emergency.
The state has also shut down state offices throughout 40 parishes until at least Friday, when the rain begins to subside.
The National Weather Service is also warning that water levels at Bayou Bartholomew in Ashley County, as well as the Bouef River, Bayou Macon, and the upper Tensas are rising fast.
Flash flood warnings remain in place for much of Northeast Louisiana, as well as west and south counties in Mississippi, according to the NWS.
The agency is also warning that flooding could also happen along the Homochitto River, Big Black River, and Pearl River in Southwest Mississippi as the storm begins to slowly move out of the area.
The heavy rain has also affected neighboring Oklahoma, where the AP reported a 30-year-old man drowned Tuesday night after trying to drive his SUV across a flooded bridge. In Texas, a 22-year-old drowned when his canoe capsized near Galveston Bay.
Heavy flooding and evacuations have also been reported in Arkansas, and Tennessee.