The Latest: Stranded drivers on interstate being rescued




AMITE, La. (AP) — The Latest on flooding in the Deep South (all times local):

8:10 p.m.

A state police spokesman says authorities are going car to car to rescue people stranded on the Interstate from the horrific Louisiana flooding.

Maj. Doug Cain from the Louisiana State Police said about 125 vehicles are stranded on Interstate 12 between Tangipahoa Parish and Baton Rouge.

He says most of the vehicles are on a seven-mile stretch of the freeway.

Authorities are going in high water vehicles to each car to rescue people and carry them to safety.

The people are being taken to a Target store in Baton Rouge where they can either be picked up by family or friends or will be taken to a shelter.

Torrential rain has swamped large portions of southeast Louisiana, cutting off roads and highways.

___

6:15 p.m.

Gov. John Bel Edwards surveyed the flooding by helicopter Saturday and is urging people to stay away, saying it's still risky to venture out.

He said one of his worries is that as the rain lessens in the next several hours, people will become complacent and feel too at ease in parishes where waters may still be rising for several days, getting in cars in areas that could still be dangerous.

"I'm still asking people to be patient. Don't get out and sightsee," Edwards said. "Even when the weather is better, it's not safe."

Three deaths have been confirmed so far, and Edwards said at least one person is missing in one area.

The governor also visited a series of emergency operation centers.

"Flooding is obviously very widespread. It's a record levels," Edwards said. "We're not out of the response phase yet."

__

4:30 p.m.

Authorities in Louisiana say another person has died in the dangerous floods, raising the death toll to three.

Michael Martin, chief of operations for the St. Helena Sheriff's Office, said authorities recovered a woman's body on Saturday from the Tickfaw River.

He said the woman, her husband and the woman's mother-in-law were driving on a state highway Friday when their car was swept off the road.

The woman's husband and mother-in-law had been clinging to a tree for hours before they were rescued Saturday.

They were among more than 1,000 people who had to be rescued as heavy rains fell during a short span, surprising a lot of residents.

___

Dramatic video shows a woman and her dog being rescued from a car as floodwaters swallow the vehicle.

The video shot by WAFB shows two men on a small boat approaching a convertible that is almost submerged in the brown water. A woman yells from inside the car "Oh my god, I'm drowning." One of the rescuers, later identified as David Phung, jumps into the water and pulls the woman from the car.

She pleads with Phung to get her dog, but he can't find the dog under the water. After several seconds, Phung takes a deep breath, goes underwater and resurfaces with the dog.

Phung told the television station that it was lucky the dog was still conscious. Both the woman and the dog appeared to be OK.

___

4:15 p.m.

A Louisiana woman says she used a saw and her feet to knock a hole in the wall of her house to escape the rising floodwaters.

Lyn Gibson said Saturday that she made the hole near the roof of her two-story home in Tangipahoa Parish so that she and her dogs could get to a National Guard rescue boat.

Gibson, a horror book author and real estate broker, spoke to The Associated Press by phone from the hospital, where she had been reunited with her husband, who fell ill at a neighbor's house as the floods worsened.

The Gibsons' home had taken in more than 2 feet of water in a March flood. It had only been restored and repaired for 90 days. Gibson says she's sure it's wrecked again.

More than 1,000 people have been rescued and at least two people were killed when swift-moving water swamped roads.

___

2:30 p.m.

The U.S. Coast Guard says it has rescued five people from flood waters in the Baton Rouge area.

In a news release, the Coast Guard said that a helicopter crew rescued two adults and their 6-year-old child from their home and took them to the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport on Saturday.

A second helicopter crew rescued two women and evacuated them to the airport as well.

The rescues were part of more than 1,000 made by the National Guard and other officials as heavy rain and flooding inundated the state.

It was Coast Guard aircrews that made over 24,000 recuses in New Orleans during the flooding from Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

___

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has declared a state of emergency for Adams, Amite, Pike, Wilkinson and any other counties affected by the heavy rainfall and severe flooding over the last few days.

Bryant says shelters are open and he wants to make sure anyone forced from their home is taken care of. He says the state of emergency will ensure state resources are available to all local governments that need help.

Bryant said damage assessments will be conducted by Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and local officials as areas become accessible.

___

2 p.m.

Mississippi officials say the heavy rain and flooding affected nearly all of the 342 people who live in the small town of Crosby.

The Wilkinson County's emergency management director, Thomas Tolliver Jr., says those residents left their homes Friday as the town was inundate by flood waters. More than 1,000 people in Louisiana had to be rescued and at least two people have died.

Tolliver said some people in Crosby were able to leave on their own, but others had to be recused from their home.

He said most were sent to shelters in Natchez.

Tolliver said Saturday the water has started to recede and those living in Crosby will be allowed back in by Sunday to assess the damage.

Tolliver said most of the buildings in Crosby sustained water damage.

___

Corrects spelling of county to Wilkinson.

___

1:25 p.m.

LSU has canceled its football "Fan Day" and media day due to the continued rain and flooding across south Louisiana.

The events were both scheduled to be held on campus on Sunday.

LSU Vice-Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva said in a news release Fan Day will be not rescheduled.

Officials say more than 1,000 people have been rescued and two people have died in the floods.

___

12:45 p.m.

Dozens of people are staying at a Red Cross shelter in Baker after they had to be rescued or helped from the Louisiana floods.

John Mitchell said he swam to safety with his pit bull. Police officers in a boat picked up his girlfriend, her young daughter and his father.

Mitchell fears he lost their trailer home and his car, which was flooded up to the seats. A bag of clothes was all he had time to save as the water levels rapidly rose.

The governor says more than 1,000 people have been rescued and two people have died in the floods.

Shanita Angrum said she called 911 on Friday morning when she realized flood waters had trapped her family in their home. A police officer carried her 6-year-old daughter on his back while she and her husband waded behind them to safety. She says snakes were everywhere.

___

Louisiana State Police say a 54-year-old Greensburg man died when his pickup ran off Louisiana Highway 10 and was submerged in the flood waters.

Senior Trooper Melissa Matey says Saturday that firefighters from St. Helena Parish Fire District 4 recovered the body of Samuel Muse on Friday night.

Matey says the highway was covered by several feet of water and Muse's vehicle was not visible.

At least one other person died in the unprecedented flooding in Louisiana. The governor says more than 1,000 people have had to be rescued from their homes or cars.

___

11:50 a.m.

Flash flood warnings are still in effect for southeast Louisiana as more rain is in the forecast.

More than 1,000 people have had to be evacuated and at least two people have died after heavy rains inundated parts of the state.

The National Weather Service says the flash flood warnings are in effect for Livingston, West Baton Rouge, West Feliciana, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, Iberville, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana and Ascension parishes until 2:15 p.m. Saturday.

In south Mississippi, more than a half-dozen counties are under a flood watch until Sunday.

Forecaster Tim Destri says additional rainfall accumulations through Sunday morning in Louisiana could range between 3 to 6 inches west of Interstate 55 with locally higher amounts. Somewhat lower rainfall totals east of I-55 are expected.

In Mississippi, Destri said an additional 2 inches could fall from McComb to the Mississippi River. Gloster, Mississippi, in Amite County, had a two-day rain total of 22.8 inches.

___

10:55 a.m.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says flooding has reached record levels in some parts of the state following days of torrential rain.

He said at a press conference Saturday that officials still don't know how bad the flooding will get and warned residents not to rely on past experience when deciding on a course of action. He says residents advised to evacuate should do so.

Edwards also advised residents to avoid unnecessary road travel. He said more than 1,000 people have been rescued so far from homes, cars and elsewhere. About 100 pets have also been rescued.

___

9:25 a.m.

The National Weather Service says the same system that is currently affecting parts of Louisiana dumped heavy rainfall on coastal Alabama this week.

Weather service meteorologist Da'Vel Johnson said Saturday that Gulf Shores on the Alabama coast got 7.45 inches of rain from Monday through 7 a.m. Friday. Dauphin Island got 5.26 inches during the same period.

More rain fell Friday, but Johnson said those rainfall totals weren't available Saturday morning.

Johnson said the storm system had mostly moved away from Alabama by Saturday.

___

9:15 a.m.

The National Weather Service has issued flash flooding warning for all of southwest Louisiana until 2 p.m. Saturday as a low pressure system continues to drift slowly to the west. Forecaster Donald Jones in Lake Charles, Louisiana, says the storm system moved from southeast Louisiana to an area along the central Gulf coast in 24 hours or about 100 to 200 miles.

A flood watch for southwest Louisiana is in effect until Sunday afternoon.

Jones says 6 to 10 inches of rain has fallen over the last 24 hours and an additional 4 to 6 inches will be possible Saturday afternoon.

Jones says Iberia, Lafayette and Vermilion parishes have been the hardest hit with flood water getting into some homes.

___

7:55 a.m.

More rain is expected to swamp already soggy ground across Louisiana and other parts of the Gulf Coast where at least two people died and dozens had to be rescued from waist-high water surrounding their homes.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency as rescue workers in the southeastern part of the state brace for more precipitation.

Edwards spokesman Richard Carbo said the governor returned to Louisiana on Friday because of the flooding. Edwards had been in Colorado for a policy meeting of the Democratic Governors Association but left early because of the storm.

Edwards has scheduled a news conference for 10:30 a.m. Saturday to discuss the flooding situation, which also affected the Louisiana Governor's Mansion, where the basement flooded.

___

More rain is expected to swamp already soggy ground across Louisiana and other parts of the Gulf Coast where at least two people died and dozens had to be rescued from waist-high water surrounding their homes.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency as rescue workers in the southeastern part of the state brace for more precipitation.

Edwards spokesman Richard Carbo said the governor returned to Louisiana on Friday because of the flooding. Edwards had been in Colorado for a policy meeting of the Democratic Governors Association but left early because of the storm.

Edwards has scheduled a news conference for 10 a.m. Saturday to discuss the flooding situation, which also affected the Louisiana Governor's Mansion, where the basement flooded.
comments powered by Disqus