Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency in Louisiana and other parts of the Gulf Coast as more flash floods and heavy rain begin to overtake homes and high grounds. Rescue crews have already recovered more than 1,000 people, some of whom were clinging to trees to stay alive. So far, at least two people have died in the floods.
The first victim, 68-year-old William Mayfield, died Friday after slipping into a flooded ditch near the city of Zachary. His body was found about noon Friday. The second victim, an unidentified man in his 50s, was found in St. Helena Parish, where crews pulled his body from a submerged pickup on Louisiana Highway 10.
Gov. Edwards and the state’s emergency management office are calling the inclement weather a “historic flood event.” In less than one day’s time, Baton Rouge reported as much as 11.34 inches of rain.
Two of Louisiana’s rivers, the Comite River near Baton Rouge and the Amite River near Denham Springs, were predicted to set record crests over the weekend. Both rivers could flood many houses in suburban areas near Baton Rouge.
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