Heavy rains hammer southern Louisiana with more to come


Parents use boats to pick up students from schools after nearly a foot of rain fell in Lake Charles, La., Monday, May 17, 2021. (Rick Hickman/American Press via AP)

LAKE CHARLES, La. (NewsNation Now) — Rainy weather is expected to continue in southern Louisiana through the middle of the week after storms Monday flooded roads and forced drivers to abandon their cars.

The National Weather Service says multiple days of heavy rainfall will likely continue to cause flooding issues across portions of eastern Texas, Oklahoma, western Arkansas, and extreme western Louisiana this week.

In a Facebook post Monday, the National Weather Service said that south Lake Charles in western Louisiana saw 12 to 15 inches of rain in a 12-hour period. But the rainfall wasn’t limited to that one area. Numerous areas in Calcasieu Parish where Lake Charles is located saw totals of 8 to 10 inches of rainfall Monday.

Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency late Monday for southwest Louisiana.

In Lafayette, Mayor-President Josh Guillory ordered a citywide curfew late Monday until 6 a.m. Tuesday.

“Residents should take steps to protect life and property and avoid driving or walking through floodwaters, vehicles that drive through flooded roadways not only risk getting stuck, but could also push water into nearby homes,” he said.

NewsNation affiliate KLFY reports several school closures in the Lafayette area for Tuesday due to the severe weather.

The storms left one of the busiest roadways in the city impassable during rush hour Monday, according to KLFY.

Parts of southeastern Texas and western Louisiana were under flash flood warnings on Monday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service’s Lake Charles office. Several inches of rain also fell on parts of Arkansas.

Tornadoes also were a threat as storms pounded south Louisiana.

The National Weather Service in Lake Charles reported that the public reported a possible tornado in the Church Point area of rural Acadia Parish, west of Lafayette. There were no immediate reports of injuries or major damage.

The Baton Rouge area was also hammered with rain Monday. The National Weather Service’s New Orleans branch said on its Twitter feed that according to radar estimates as much as 12 inches of rain may have fallen in parts of East Baton Rouge, Ascension and Iberville parishes.

In Ascension Parish, Parish President Clint Cointment put all employees responsible for drainage issues on alert after the “massive amount of rain.”

NewsNation affiliate WVLA is also reporting Tuesday school closures, including all East Baton Rouge schools.

Western Louisiana is still recovering from back-to-back hurricanes Laura and then Delta last year. And then, in February, frigid temperatures froze pipes and led to problems getting drinking water to area residents.

The National Weather Service’s Little Rock office said on their Twitter feed, that parts of central Arkansas also had seen two to more than four inches of rain as of Monday morning. More rainfall is expected this week, the agency said.

The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliates around the country contributed to this report.

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