BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Latest on flooding in the Deep South (all times local):
Louisiana’s governor says at least 7,000 people have been rescued so far due to widespread flooding in the state.
Gov. John Bel Edwards emphasized Sunday that the rain-caused flooding was “not over.”
He says the fatalities have not risen from the three dead reported on Saturday. One person is unaccounted for in St. Helena Parish.
Edwards says the storm has “subsided in its intensity” but he is encouraging people to not go out and “sightsee” even as the weather gets better.
The governor says water is continuing to rise in some areas even though the sunshine is out.
In southwest Louisiana, the Mermentau (MER-men-tow) River is expected to rise 3 feet or more above the levees in Lake Arthur, a city of about 2,700. Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff Ivy Woods is advising residents to pack up and get out before Tuesday.
He says that during the area’s last major flood, in 2013, the river was 8 feet high and at the top of the levee. He says the current prediction is for a crest Monday evening or night at 11 to 12 feet.
Woods says that by midmorning Sunday, about 10 people had called and asked for a ride out because of high water in the streets.
KPLC-TV reports (KPLC http://bit.ly/2bqMZLg) that the mayor of Welsh advised people in low-lying areas along Lacassine (lak-uh-SEEN) Bayou to evacuate.
Widespread flooding in Louisiana has stranded motorists for nearly a day on Interstate 12.
Alex Cobb of Baton Rouge says she has been stuck since around 11 a.m. Saturday morning.
Reached by telephone Sunday, she said she was on her way to a bridal shower she was supposed to be hosting on Saturday when flooding closed off the highway.
She said she had food from the bridal shower that she was able to eat and a produce truck about a ¼ mile up the road opened its doors and shared its stock with the stranded motorists.
Cobb said some of the people stranded on the highway were actually fleeing flooding in their homes when they got caught on the freeway.
The mood is surprisingly upbeat but she emphasized that people “want water.”
Emergency crews worked through the night to rescue scores of Louisiana residents from homes and stranded cars as floodwaters continued to inundate large swaths of the Baton Rouge region.
Mike Steele of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness said Sunday morning that there was an overnight spike in flood rescues in eastern Baton Rouge. He said two nursing homes in that area were being evacuated.
Police also were rescuing people from dozens of cars that were stranded on Interstate 12, which was closed from Baton Rouge to Tangipahoa Parish.
Steele says the flooding that started Friday has damaged more than 1,000 homes in East Baton Rouge Parish, more than 1,000 homes in Livingston Parish and hundreds more in St. Helena and Tangipahoa parishes.
At least three deaths have been blamed on the flooding.
Emergency crews plucked motorists from stranded cars in high water along a stretch of south Louisiana interstate, pulled others from inundated homes and braced for more arduous work Sunday after conducting at least 2,000 rescues.
Pounding rains swamped parts of southeast Louisiana so that whole subdivisions appeared isolated by floodwaters, which are blamed for at least three deaths.
Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency, calling the floods “historic.” He and his family were even forced to leave the Governor’s Mansion when chest-high water filled the basement. He later toured flood-ravaged areas by helicopter and warned Louisiana residents it would be too risky to venture out even once the rains begin to subside.