3 Dead, Over 1000 Rescued from Flooding in Louisiana

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Across Louisiana, at least three people have died and more than 1,000 people have been rescued from flooding.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a press conference Saturday residents advised to evacuate should do so, because officials don’t know how bad flooding will get.

Flooding is expected to continue through the weekend in southern Louisiana, and the National Weather Service has extended its flash-flood warning for seven parishes to 1:45 p.m. CT Saturday.

A man in Zachary died after slipping into a flooded ditch and another man died trapped in a submerged pickup in St. Helena Parish. Another person in St. Helena Parish as been reported missing.

Parts of Lafayette Parish are forecast to receive an additional 5 to 10 inches of rainfall between midnight Friday and Saturday afternoon, according to a release from Lafayette Consolidated Government. Major flooding that won’t subside until Wednesday evening is in the forecast.

“I’ve seen flooded roads I’ve never seen before,” said spokesman Brooks David of the Louisiana State Police. In Scott, La., about 6 miles west of Lafayette, the mayor closed all city streets and said anyone driving could be cited; the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office said it responded to more than 270 calls for rescue in the past day.

Flood stage for the Vermillion River is 10 feet, the level recorded Saturday morning was 16.4 feet, and it is expected to rise to 18.4 feet, a 100-year flood level. Its highest recorded crest was 24.87 feet in 1940.

Lafayette received 10.39 inches of rain Friday after having less than a half inch of rain in early August, according to the National Weather Service. The Vermilion River, which was low before the rain started falling, has reversed course.

“The river’s flowing upstream, which means it’s flowing into the swamp,” said Tom Carroll, Lafayette’s public works director. In the 24 years he has worked in his building, Carroll said he has never seen the Vermilion River moving so fast in a northerly direction.

“I don’t know that we’ve ever had this intensity and duration of rain,” Carroll said. “Within the course of 6 to 8 hours, people got 10 inches of rain. No system around here can handle that type of rainfall.”

Thousands of homes were without electricity Saturday.

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Source: USA Today | The (Lafayette, La.) Daily Advertiser