Louisiana's governor has requested federal assistance after widespread, "unprecedented' flooding led to 7,000 rescues, killed three people, and left one person missing.
One government official told the Associated Press that more than 5,000 people were staying in shelters. Governor John Bel Edwards said that many more are staying in unofficial shelters, such as churches.
Although the worst of the heavy rains that began on Thursday appear to be over, officials are warning that the Mermentau River in the state's southwest will likely rise more than three more feet over the levees.
Ivy Woods, the Sheriff of the Jefferson Davis parish — which encompasses towns along the Mermentau — is urging residents to pack up before the river waters swell and spill over the levees, AP reports. During the region's last major flood three years ago, the river reached eight feet. Officials expect the river to peak to about 12 feet by Monday evening.
Baton Rouge was particularly affected by the floodwaters. Central Mayor Jr. Shelton toldthe city'sThe Advocate newspaper that no neighborhood had been spared.
"This makes the flood of 1983 a mere distant memory," Shelton said."When we talk about floods now, we'll talk about the great flood of 2016. Everything else pales in comparison."
WOW. Absolutely incredible video of a water rescue in Baton Rouge. This video is from our sister station WAFB. pic.twitter.com/ONCaAtA2kZ
— Jordan Strack (@JordanStrack) August 14, 2016
Although the rain has finally started to let up, and the sun has peaked through the clouds, Edwards is warning residents of flood-affected areas that they should try to remain indoors.
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