The federal government declared a major disaster in Louisiana Sunday after torrential rain deluged the state killing at least eight people, flooding thousands of homes and prompting more than 30,000 water rescues. Parts of southern Louisiana and Mississippi have been hammered by up to 25 inches of rain late since last Friday, causing what Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has referred to as a “historic” flood.
More than 12,000 people spent Sunday night in shelters and 40,000 homes and businesses were without power, Gov. Edwards said Monday. The Amite River, one of several rivers and creeks that have poured over its banks, will crest in some areas below Baton Rouge later in the day, the National Weather Service said.
While the torrential rains are expected to ease in flood-ravaged Louisiana on Monday, forecasters are warning that the threat may be far from over since it will be some time before the flood waters recede. “The flooding isn’t over because all the water that’s upstream has to flow downstream,” said Weather channel meteorologist Kevin Roth. “The river and the creeks will probably continue to rise.
Many flood warnings in the state extended through Tuesday and Wednesday, but warnings in the parishes of East Baton Rouge, Livingston and Ascension will remain at risk until Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.
President Obama signed a disaster declaration for four counties, which Gov. Edwards said will provide “incredibly important” assistance. He also said that up to 30 counties could receive the declaration before the disaster has passed.