BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – At least one death has been confirmed in South Louisiana following severe flooding overnight and three more are under investigation as possibly storm-related, according to Gov. John Bel Edwards. Another person remains missing and hundreds have been rescued from high waters.
During a briefing early Tuesday afternoon, Edward said the coroner has confirmed the death of a 33-year-old man who was found in a flooded vehicle beneath an underpass on Bluebonnet Boulevard in Baton Rouge Tuesday after the water receded. Edwards said there are also investigations into three other deaths, plus one missing person and at least one injury.
In West Baton Rouge Parish, one person was found dead in a submerged vehicle. Another person was found injured and another is missing in the same incident. Two more deaths may be linked to power outages from the storm, said Edwards.
Edwards said some parts of Lake Charles got up to 15 inches of rain over eight to ten hours, causing extensive street flooding that affected businesses and homes and more rain is on the way.
“Our hearts are truly breaking. I’m sorry that you are having to deal with this again,” Edwards said. “It was just a few weeks ago that President Biden in Lake Charles to discuss infrastructure and hurricane recovery and here we are with another natural disaster that has set back those recovery efforts.”
Lake Charles took on 15 inches of rain in under 10 hours, leading to historic flooding in a city still recovering from twin hurricanes in 2020. Edwards said parts of the city took damage even in places that were spared in hurricanes Laura and Delta. Around 13 inches of rain was reported in Baton Rouge, he said.
Several search and rescue operations have been underway over the past two days, said Edwards, especially in the Lake Charles area, where Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents rescued 110 people and 15 pets; Louisiana State Fire Marshal personnel rescued 78 people and five pets; and Louisiana National Guard personnel rescued 19 people and two pets. Edwards said more local rescues have also been underway, though he only had numbers from statewide offices to share.
Edwards said there are no statewide shelters set up, though a small population were being housed in shelters in Lake Charles and Baton Rouge.
Numerous roads around South Louisiana remain closed due to flooding. Edwards said there are ten weather-related closures in the state. I-10 between Siegen and Highland Road in East Baton Rouge Parish remains closed in both directions because of flooding. He said the Louisiana State Police and DOTD are working to see if they can open two lanes of travel through that stretch.
Until then, traffic will be diverted via U.S. 61/Airline Highway.
Visit 511la.org for updated information on road conditions and closures.
Just over 10,400 remained without power in the region as of midday Monday, down from a peak of about 45,000 reported around 6 a.m, the governor said, warning of the dangers of misusing generators that cost several lives during the winters storms that hit the state in February.
With grounds saturated and local rivers and creeks still somewhat swollen from Monday’s rains, it won’t take much new rain to trigger flash floods around the state, he said. Rains are expected to continue off and on through Thursday.