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Floods claim 2 lives in US state of Louisiana

In East Baton Rouge parish residents waded through waist-deep water with their belongings. Photograph: (Reuters)

Reuters Louisiana, United States Aug 13, 2016, 10.29 PM (IST)

Torrential rainfall along the US Gulf Coast has caused "unprecedented" flooding in parts of Louisiana, while claiming at least two lives across the region, Governor John Bel Edwards said on Saturday (August 13). In Baker and East Baton Rouge parish, floodwaters had reached record levels, NBC reported.

Rescue crews used boats to help residents trapped at home by the rising waters that swamped roads streets and left houses partially submerged.

"We've been living in this area since the mid 80's and I've never ever seen the water like this, it's just unreal," said Baker fire chief Danny Edwards.

In East Baton Rouge parish residents waded through waist-deep water with their belongings.

Edwards, who has called a state of emergency in Louisiana, said emergency workers had to rescue more than 1,000 people from homes, cars and trees as rivers in the southern part of the state spilled over.

Even as the severe weather eased in the eastern part of the region, rivers further west in Louisiana were spilling over, and flooding could worsen over the next 24 to 36 hours, Edwards said.

He described the floods as more severe than those that struck the state in March, when at least four were killed and thousands of homes were damaged in Louisiana and Mississippi. He asked residents to obey evacuation orders and stay away from the waters

"What we know is we have record levels of flooding along rivers and creeks," Edwards said. "If you are living in those areas and you've been advised to evacuate you need to do that. You need to heed these warnings and please don't rely upon your experiences in the past."

The National Weather Service issued flood watches for parts of eastern Texas early on Saturday and extended its flash flood warning further west in Louisiana, according to its website.

It also maintained a flash flood watch and flood warnings for eastern regions of the state, including New Orleans, and southern Mississippi. Over 17 inches (43 cm) of rain had battered parts of Louisiana by Saturday morning, with another several inches expected later in the day and on Sunday, the NWS said.

(Reuters)

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