Gov. to Visit Flooded N. Louisiana

Gov. to Visit Flooded N. Louisiana

BOSSIER CITY, La. (AP) -- Record-setting flooding in northern Louisiana prompted numerous high-water rescues of stranded families and animals and officials said some levees could overflow Friday.

Davyon Hill, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's office in Shreveport, said skies cleared Thursday in the region but the area was not yet out of the woods.

"It's not over with," he said. "There's still part of a low pressure system that's in central Texas that is moving this way, and overnight it will likely bring another bout of rain to the region."

If weather permits Friday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards planned to tour Shreveport and Bossier City and Monroe, the governor's spokeswoman Shauna Sanford said.

Edwards late Thursday issued a statewide declaration of emergency in light of the severe weather that's already hit those areas and predictions of more rain.

Bossier Parish Sheriff's Lt. Bill Davis said two more subdivisions in south Bossier City and the area immediately around and next to Louisiana Downs racetrack were now under a mandatory evacuation. Golden Meadows and Southgate subdivisions were added to the list late Thursday.

Davis said Red Chute Bayou above Interstate 20 was still rising, and officials anticipate the levees will likely overtop by Friday morning.

Michael Konnovich Jr., 45, his wife and two children have lived in the Golden Meadow subdivision for about 12 years. In that time, he said he's never seen as much water as he's seen in the past few days.

"Typically, it will come up and drain off," he said. "But not this time. The water is just over my 5-foot chain link fence. I just don't know where this water is coming from."

So far, Konnovich said, water has not entered his home but adds if the predicted overnight rain is between 3 and 5 inches, it will creep inside. He said he, friends and neighbors had been sandbagging his home and others in the neighborhood since early Thursday in an effort to ward off the rising water.

"I am truly blessed by this community and the friendships I have for helping with these sandbags," he said.

State officials said a 6-year-old girl was among three people killed in Louisiana during two days of severe weather that left roads covered in water and sent more than 1,000 people fleeing their homes.

Edwards said he authorized Major Gen. Glenn Curtis, adjutant general for the Louisiana National Guard, to deploy up to 750 guard members in flooded areas. Curtis said the Guard had deployed roughly 400 people along with 30 to 35 "high-water vehicles" and 15 to 18 boats to assist in search-and-rescue operations in north Louisiana.

Guard spokeswoman Rebekah Malone said the Guard has evacuated 361 people from homes in Bossier, Ouachita and Morehouse parishes since Wednesday. Guardsmen have also evacuated 70 dogs, 16 chickens and even a guinea pig.

In Bossier City — across the Red River from Shreveport — about 3,500 homes were under a mandatory evacuation as a precaution because a bayou was approaching the top of its levee.

Many north Louisiana corn fields got more than 10 to 12 inches of rain as the seedlings were just sprouting, Dan Fromme, an LSU AgCenter corn expert, said in a blog post Thursday. He said they can't survive more than 2 to 4 days of flooding before they've grown six leaves.

However, he said in an email, damage assessments won't be possible until "the later part of next week," at the earliest.

Rain also pummeled parts of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi.

In southern Arkansas, heavy rainfall prompted the closure of some schools and roads, and forecasters said the deluge will continue there for the rest of the week. Meteorologists with the National Weather Service say officials have reported water rescues and evacuations near Dermott, Arkansas, as water rises in low-lying areas.

The National Weather Service says 3 to 10 inches of rain has fallen in counties along the Mississippi River in western Tennessee, eastern Arkansas and northern Mississippi since late Tuesday, flooding roads, parking lots and fields. The flood threat is expected to continue into Friday, as another 1 to 3 inches of rain could fall in the Mississippi Delta region, meteorologist Scott McNeil said.

One weather-related drowning was reported in both Oklahoma and Texas earlier this week.

(KA)