Louisiana flooding: At least 4 dead, 20,000 rescued

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Disaster Zone in Louisiana As More than Seven Thousand People Rescued

EAST BATON ROUGE, La. — More than 20,000 people have been rescued after massive floods swept across Louisiana, and officials warned Sunday that even though the rain had subsided, dangers loomed.

"It's not over," Gov. John Bel Edwards said Sunday. "The water's going to rise in many areas. It's no time to let the guard down."

Edwards said crews had already rescued more than 20,000 people and hundreds of pets. More than 10,000 people — many in the Baton Rouge area — were in shelters on Sunday night, Edwards said during a news conference.

The flooding killed at least four people. The latest casualty was reported Sunday night, with officials confirming that a 59-year-old man was swept away by the current while walking along a road in Tangipahoa City on Friday. The man, who was not identified, drowned, said Devin George, director of the state registrar.

President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in the hard-hit parishes of East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Helena and Tangipahoa, freeing up federal funding for flood-related assistance.

Edwards — who also declared a state of emergency — called the floods "unprecedented" and "historic."

Photos of the Louisiana flooding:

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Louisiana flooding
A truck takes a detour through a flooded street in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana, U.S., August 14, 2016. REUTERS/Jeffrey Dubinsky
A truck drives through a flooded street in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana, U.S., August 14, 2016. REUTERS/Jeffrey Dubinsky
An aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans rescues three people from a rooftop due to flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., in this still image from video taken on August 13, 2016. Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
An aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans rescues three people from a rooftop due to flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., in this still image from video taken on August 13, 2016. Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
An aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans rescues three people from a rooftop due to flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., A in this still image from video taken on August 13, 2016. Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
An aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans rescues three people from a rooftop due to flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., in this still image from video taken on August 13, 2016. Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Acadian Thruway is covered in floodwaters in this handout picture from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development taken in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. August 12, 2016. Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development/Handout via Reuters THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
Verot School Rd is seen covered in floodwaters in this handout picture taken by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana, U.S. August 12, 2016. Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development/Handout via Reuters THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
Motorists on Highway 190 drive through deep water through Holden, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Sunday that at least 7,000 people have been rescued so far. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Members of the Louisiana Army National Guard rescue people from rising floodwater near Walker, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Danielle Blount carries her 3-month-old baby Ember to a truck from the Louisiana Army National Guard as they evacuate the area near Walker, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Members of the Louisiana Army National Guard rescue people from rising floodwater near Walker, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Danielle Blount kisses her 3-month-old baby Ember as she feeds her while they wait to be evacuated by members of the Louisiana Army National Guard near Walker, La., after heavy rains inundating the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
People arrive an area, to be evacuated by members of the Louisiana Army National Guard near Walker, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Floodwaters reach the front steps of a home near Holden, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Sunday that at least 7,000 people have been rescued so far. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
A sign tells motorists to slow down to avoid pushing water into homes near Holden, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Sunday that at least 7,000 people have been rescued so far. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
An abandoned vehicle is surrounded by water on Highway 190 near Holden, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Sunday that at least 7,000 people have been rescued so far. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Floodwaters reach the front steps of homes built on pillars near Holden, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Sunday that at least 7,000 people have been rescued so far. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Army National Guard vehicles travel through floodwaters, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016, on LA-442, west of Tickfaw, La., as rescue operations continue after heavy rains inundated the region. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
In this aerial photo over Robert, La., Army National Guard, vehicles drive on flooded U.S. Route 190 after heavy rains inundated the region, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says more than 1,000 people in south Louisiana have been rescued from homes, vehicles and even clinging to trees as a slow-moving storm hammers the state with flooding. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
In this aerial photo a boat motors between flooded homes after heavy rains inundating the region Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016, in Hammond, La. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says more than 1,000 people in south Louisiana have been rescued from homes, vehicles and even clinging to trees as a slow-moving storm hammers the state with flooding. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
People arrive to be evacuated by members of the Louisiana Army National Guard near Walker, La., after heavy rains inundating the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
In this aerial photo over Hammond, La., flooded businesses are seen from heavy rains inundating the region, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
In this aerial photo over Amite, La., flooded homes are seen from heavy rains inundating the region, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Jeff Robinson wades through flood waters near his home in Baptist, La., Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016, as he seeks a boat ride from state wildlife agents to pick up his wife and children. A slow-moving storm that has dumped almost a foot of rain in Louisiana parishes south and west and Mississippi counties north of the Mississippi-Louisiana state line, are in for more rain. National Guard soldiers and other officials in boats and helicopters plucked more than 1,000 people from their homes and cars as "unprecedented, historic" flooding swamped Louisiana, the governor said Saturday. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Jeff Robinson lowers a ladder from a Louisiana National Guard truck as his wife wades through flood waters from the Natalbany River near their home in Baptist, La., Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. Robinson was seeking a boat ride from state wildlife agents to pick up his wife and children when the National Guard truck arrived. A slow-moving storm that has dumped almost a foot of rain in Louisiana parishes south and west and Mississippi counties north of the Mississippi-Louisiana state line, are in for more rain. National Guard soldiers and other officials in boats and helicopters plucked more than 1,000 people from their homes and cars as "unprecedented, historic" flooding swamped Louisiana, the governor said Saturday. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
In this aerial photo over Hammond, La., cattle can bee seen huddled together in flood water after heavy rains inundated the region, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
In this aerial photo over Amite, La., flooded homes are seen from heavy rains inundating the region, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
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"When I woke up this morning, I had a toolbox floating in my front yard," Rhonda Hughes of Livingston Parish told NBC station WVLA of Baton Rouge.

The Baker Fire Department in East Baton Rouge Parish was evacuated overnight after it took on several feet water and one of its engines stalled in deep water, Fire Chief Danny Edwards said.

The heavy rain began Friday, with 6 to 10 inches falling on southeast parts of the state. Several more inches fell Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

Edwards said Sunday that he didn't know how many homes had been damaged, but "it's in the thousands."

Sunday brought drier weather, but residents in affected areas were warned to stay in their homes and off the roads — unless they're told to evacuate. "Even a typical afternoon summer thunderstorm has the potential to cause flooding," Edwards said.

The Amite River in Denham Springs had already reached historic levels and was expected to rise 4½ feet above the record, according to The Weather Channel.

Livingston Parish was among the hardest hit, with some towns completely cut off. Hundreds of motorists were stranded along the interstate, officials said. In Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University announced that it was shuttering its main campus there on Monday.

More than 1,700 rescue personnel had been mobilized and nearly 170 high-water vehicles had been tasked or staged, according to the Louisiana National Guard. An additional 800 guardsmen will likely be deployed.

The Coast Guard was also assisting in the rescue efforts, using helicopters to help residents from their rooftops, cars and trailers.

The state Transportation Department said more than 100 roads have been closed across the state. In Jefferson Davis Parish, so many roads are impassable that Sheriff Ivy Woods declared a 6 p.m. curfew so motorists don't get stranded overnight.

"All our parish roads north and south — they're inoperable," Woods told NBC station KPLC of Lake Charles.

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