At least 2 dead, thousands evacuated in Louisiana, Mississippi flooding

Published 13.08.2016 19:41
Updated 13.08.2016 20:01
At least 2 dead, thousands evacuated in Louisiana, Mississippi flooding

Torrential downpours in parts of Louisiana and Mississippi caused flooding on Friday that killed at least two men, left two people injured and forced residents to evacuate homes throughout the region, officials said.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says flooding has reached record levels in some parts of the state following days of torrential rain.

He said at a press conference Saturday that officials still don't know how bad the flooding will get and warned residents not to rely on past experience when deciding on a course of action. He says residents advised to evacuate should do so.

Edwards also advised residents to avoid unnecessary road travel. He said more than 1,000 people have been rescued so far from homes, cars and elsewhere. About 100 pets have also been rescued.

Pounding rain over the past two days led Edwards to declare a state of emergency, and forced the closure of schools, government offices and many roads.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch into the weekend for parts of southern Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana, including New Orleans.

The severe weather comes five months after March flooding in Louisiana and Mississippi that left at least four dead and thousands of homes damaged.

In northern Louisiana, the body of an unidentified man was recovered from a pickup truck that had been swept off a highway near the town of Greensburg, the St. Helena Parish Sheriff's Office said.

Officials advised area residents to boil water and imposed a curfew, the sheriff's office said.

In Mississippi, water rescues were conducted throughout the day and two people were reported with minor injuries in Harrison County, where roads were reopened by the afternoon, the state's Emergency Management Agency said.

Two counties, Pike and Amite, were experiencing flash and river flooding after being inundated with more than 10 inches (25.4 cm) of rain since midnight, said Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Lee Smithson.

The Tangipahoa, Biloxi and Pearl rivers all were flooding, he said.

In Tangipahoa Parish, near Baton Rouge, Sheriff Daniel Edwards said rivers were rising quickly, and authorities expected more evacuations to be carried out during the day.

"I'm already seeing housing taking on water. If we get much more rain, we're going to have quite a few homes flooded," said Edwards, brother of Louisiana's governor, in a phone interview.

Amtrak halted a southbound train from Chicago en route to New Orleans due to water on the tracks near Osyka, Mississippi. It plans to bus passengers from Jackson to New Orleans, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said in a statement.

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