Flash floods. Incessant rainfall. A federal disaster declaration. At least six people dead and 20,000 rescued. Extreme weather has hit Louisiana—again.
This is a story that sounds all too familiar for the southern state, which is now battling its second severe flood of the year. The rainfall began Friday—24 inches of it—and continues today (August 15). The worst floods are concentrated in the southeastern portion of the state in places like Baton Rouge.
"This is a serious event," said Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards Sunday in a press conference. "It is ongoing. It is not over."
So far, 11,000 people have registered for FEMA assistance, according to a post on the governor’s Facebook page. Ten thousand remain in shelters, say media reports. Climate change is increasing the intensity and frequency of such natural disasters. And while this crisis is not the result of a hurricane, its outcomes are similar: floods, evacuations and panic. It is expected that Louisiana will experience more of these weather patterns as a result of climate change.
I-12 Rescue Efforts throughout the day: https://t.co/9s94iC2czA pic.twitter.com/ndBjtrQ6Jv
— LA State Police (@LAStatePolice) August 15, 2016
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina modeled what’s to come for southern states like Louisiana. “What was going on last night (August 13) especially around two and three o’clock in the morning sounded exactly like Katrina,” said Mike Steele, a spokesman for the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, to The New York Times.
But these models and past experiences mean little when a record-breaking storm hits. “Any time you break a record, the National Weather Service cannot tell you what you can expect in the way of the floodwaters: how wide they’re going to be and how deep they’re going to be,” said Edwards, according to The New York Times.
State officials continue to monitor rivers for flooding. They expect the situation to continue.