At least two people are dead and hundreds have been rescued from their homes and cars as “unprecedented” flooding ravaged Louisiana in recent days, prompting the governor to declare a state of emergency, reports say.
An elderly man drowned after slipping and falling in the high flood waters of East Baton Rouge Parish, ABC News reports. And a man in St. Helena Parish died after his pickup truck was swept off of a submerged highway.
“This is certainly not over. The rain continues to fall in the areas that have been most impacted already. This is a very slow-moving, low pressure system,” Louisiana Gov. John Edwards said at a recent press conference. “Because these are record floods, we don’t know how wide the water is going to get in these areas.”
Six to 10 inches of rain fell on parts of the state on Friday and officials expected up to six more inches to fall Saturday afternoon, the Associated Press reports.
Authorities are searching for missing people, according to the AP.
Dramatic Footage Shows Human Chain Saving a Stranded Woman During Maryland Floods
Edwards said 18 parishes have declared a state of emergency and three more were in the process of doing so. And on Friday the governor declared a state of emergency for the entire state, effective until Sept. 10, he wrote in a statement.
The governor urged residents to heed warnings to evacuate and cautioned them not to rely on their past experiences amid the “record” flooding.
Multiple agencies, including the National Guard, have worked to rescue people from the flood waters and more than 197,000 sandbags were delivered to Livingston Parish, where more than 20 inches of rain fell in one day, NBC News reports.
“We need you to help us get you out. This is not a mandatory evacuation, but it’s absolutely urgent,” Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks said at a Saturday press conference. ” “This is the worst event I have ever seen.”
One man told the AP that he swam to safety with his dog after police in a boat rescued his girlfriend, her daughter and his father.
“This is the worst it’s been, ever,” 23-year-old John Mitchell told the AP. “We tried to wait it out, but we had to get out.”