At Least 4 People Die in Louisiana Storms as Survivors Detail Evacuations: 'It Was Terrifying'

Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter said the damage will eclipse that of last year's Hurricanes Laura and Delta

At least four people in Louisiana have died and hundreds more have been left with damaged homes after flash flooding tore through the Lake Charles area in a storm the mayor said will "absolutely eclipse" last year's Hurricane Laura.

Parts of Lake Charles received up to 18 inches of rain, and Mayor Nic Hunter estimated that a minimum of 400-500 homes and structures were flooded — a total that will likely be more than damage wreaked by Hurricanes Laura and Delta combined, The Advocate reported.

"It will eclipse what we traditionally consider a 100-year event," Hunter reportedly said, adding that the week's rainfall was "the third-heaviest rain event" in the city's history.

The Louisiana Department of Health said that the total number of storm-related deaths is up to four as of Wednesday morning.

Victims include a 61-year-old man who was found in a vehicle submerged underwater, and a 33-year-old man who was found in a flooded vehicle after the water receded in Baton Rouge, the health department said.

A third victim, a 40-year-old man, died in a vehicle that crashed into a canal flooded by heavy rainfall in Port Allen, while a fourth, a 76-year-old man who was oxygen dependent, died after a power outage led to oxygen failure.

For some residents, like Jennifer Eastwood, evacuations meant they had to spend a night taking shelter in places like the Trinity Baptist Church campus.

Eastwood told The Advocate that she was forced to leave her home with her mother-in-law and her 9-month-old son Peyton, who was born premature and relies on an oxygen tube.

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"I basically swam through the water to get him out and get [her mother-in-law] and then she fell down into the water," Eastwood said. "We just went out there and we still can't get in there. The water is even deeper."

Added resident Thomas LeBlanc to the outlet: "I don't think anybody expected this. We have no idea what it's going to be tomorrow either. I have not seen water like this in a really long time … It's just been so much, so quick."

One woman told CBS News that she was able to get her children and a few belongings out of her first-floor apartment before it filled up with chest-high water, but that "everything is gone."

"It was terrifying," another survivor told the outlet.

Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a state of emergency declaration in southwest Louisiana on Monday due to the "severe weather," and the National Weather Service said Wednesday morning that flash and river flooding is still a concern over east and south Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, eastern Oklahoma and southwestern Mississippi.

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