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Louisiana Governor Declares State Of Emergency As Floodwaters Rise

Flooding on U.S. 51 in the Village of Tangipahoa, La. Heavy rains have caused rivers to crest in Louisiana and neighboring Mississippi, closing schools and roads and stranding residents. Courtesy of Louisiana Department of Transportation hide caption

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Courtesy of Louisiana Department of Transportation

Flooding on U.S. 51 in the Village of Tangipahoa, La. Heavy rains have caused rivers to crest in Louisiana and neighboring Mississippi, closing schools and roads and stranding residents.

Courtesy of Louisiana Department of Transportation

Louisiana is under a state of emergency because of a storm system that is expected to exacerbate existing flood conditions.

In a statement, Gov. John Bel Edwards said preparations and efforts to assist saturated areas were well underway:

"We are in constant contact with local officials and first responders, and assistance is already on the move to affected parishes. ... The most important thing to remember is to obey road signs and to constantly monitor the news for updates to ensure everyone's safety. Every available resource will be used to assist citizens as this situation continues to unfold."

Heavy rains have caused rivers to crest in Louisiana and neighboring Mississippi, closing schools and roads and stranding residents. Earlier in the day, authorities rescued 72 people in Tangipahoa Parish, about 50 miles east of Baton Rouge. As WWNO's Eve Troeh tells our Newscast unit, at least one death has been attributed to the flooding:

"Rescue workers recovered the body of a 68-year-old man in Zachary, La., who was swept away by floodwaters as he tried to evacuate his trailer home. The Louisiana National Guard says rescue operations are ongoing in high-water vehicles. Some residents have had to be rescued by boat."

The state of emergency is expected to stay in effect through Saturday because heavy rains and the possibility of flash floods are predicted to continue, according to the National Weather Service.

Record-setting river crests are expected for the Comite and Amite rivers, which could potentially flood suburban areas near Baton Rouge, The Associated Press reports.