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article imageRivers reach record levels in historic Louisiana flood event

By Karen Graham     Aug 15, 2016 in World
With parts of southern Louisiana drenched with over 25 inches of rain since Friday, the federal government declared a major disaster in the state on Sunday.
The low-pressure system has left large portions of southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi devastated and rivers way above flood stage. Six people have died and over 20,000 rescues have been made. In Louisiana on Sunday night, over 10,000 people spent the night in shelters.
A seventh death has been reported in East Baton Rouge Parish (EBRP), but has not been confirmed, says the Weather Channel. EBRP Emergency Management Director JoAnne Moreau says that the body of an elderly man was recovered. The victim was being helped through floodwaters when he slipped into a ditch.
File photo: Residents are evacuated from floodwaters in Baton Rouge  Louisiana  on August 14  2016 b...
File photo: Residents are evacuated from floodwaters in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on August 14, 2016 by the Louisiana Army and Air National Guard
Louisiana Army and Air National Guard/AFP/File
And while the weather system that drowned the region for over 48 hours has moved on toward Texas, the danger is not over, as at least six river gauges in the state have exceeded record levels, including the Amite River which has exceeded its previous record by over six feet at Magnolia, and by well over four feet at Denham Springs.
The flooding of the Amite River caused a spike in water rescues on Saturday and into Sunday in the eastern part of Baton Rouge and into Denham Springs. Today there is a respite from the rains, but now the bigger threat to what is already a major disaster is the swollen rivers and what they could do to the people living downstream.
Rivers left their banks in the historic deluge.
Rivers left their banks in the historic deluge.
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The Associated Press is reporting on Monday that from the air, houses looked like little islands surrounded by flooded fields, farms were underwater, and in shopping centers, the only thing visible was the roofs of the cars, poking out above the flooded parking lots.
Another Danger raises its ugly head
While thousands of people are already trying to deal with flooded homes and vehicles, as well as the loss of income, the risk of a surge in the number of mosquitoes over the next few weeks has health officials worried.
Peter Hotez, with the Baylor College of Medicine, in speaking with the Shreveport Times, says mosquito eggs may start hatching in the aftermath of the flooding, not only raising fears over the Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitoes but perhaps, more importantly, raising fears over other diseases linked to mosquitoes, such as the West Nile virus.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said on Sunday evening, "We are not in control as far as how fast these floodwaters will recede, and in fact, they are still going up in some places." Edwards, who was forced to flee the Governor's Mansion with his family, added, "We are asking everyone to be patient."
More about Louisiana, six deaths, historic levels, Major disaster, river levels
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