Swamped Louisiana Braces For More Rain
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana - More rain Saturday was 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 Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency as rescue workers in the southeastern part of the state braced 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.
A spokeswoman for the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office said one man died Friday after slipping into a flooded ditch near the city of Zachary. Casey Rayborn Hicks identified the victim as 68-year-old William Mayfield. His body was found about noon Friday.
Dr. William "Beau" Clark, the parish coroner, ruled the death "an accidental drowning."
A second victim was found in St. Helena Parish, where crews pulled a body from a submerged pickup on Louisiana Highway 10.
State Fire Marshal H. "Butch" Browning confirmed they found a man in his 50s inside a marooned Chevrolet pickup truck about 7 p.m. Friday. The body was turned over to the parish coroner's office. His name has not been released, but Browning said he's believed to be from the area.
Meanwhile, crews are continuing to search for possibly another washed away vehicle after residents reported a missing person.
Browning said the area is sparsely populated and authorities only came across the truck after earlier successfully rescuing the driver of an 18-wheeler whose rig was pushed off the roadway.
There were 39 National Guard high water vehicles and five boat teams spread out across flooded areas, WAFB reports. They were working mainly in St. Helena, Tangipahoa, West Feliciana, Iberia and Lafayette parishes. More than 50 people have been rescued. Boat teams are on stand by to conduct search and rescue missions if needed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.