Gulf Coast inundated with a month worth of rain in 24 hours

The Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast was deluged by drenching rain Wednesday night into Thursday with some places seeing a month's worth of precipitation in a 24-hour period. The heavy rains sparked flash flooding, which is being blamed for at least one death, and triggered chaos across the south-central U.S. where an outbreak of severe weather also erupted, leading to reports of at least four tornadoes touching down in Louisiana.

Meanwhile, tropical moisture from the Gulf of Mexico is expected to fuel more rounds of rain through the weekend and exacerbate flash flooding across southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana. As much as 3 to 5 inches of rain could fall on a daily basis, and some areas may be hit with a foot or more of rain from the multi-day event.

Both Wharton and Palacios, Texas, picked up an astonishing 8 inches of rain in less than 12 hours on Wednesday. 

Lafayette, Louisiana, is among the cities most severely impacted by flooding from the downpours. On Wednesday, the city set a daily maximum rainfall record of 3.46 inches, breaking the old record of 2.41 inches set in 1926. The 24-hour total for Lafayette ending at 10 a.m. was 7.69 inches, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Tom Kines. The city typically receives 7.08 inches of rain during the entire month of June. Rain continued to fall on Thursday.

Baton Rouge is another city that took a pounding from the heavy rain, which triggered flash flooding and prompted numerous water rescues by first responders. According to local TV station WBRZ, officials are blaming the flooding for at least one fatality. During a Thursday press conference, Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome said a man died after his vehicle stalled in floodwaters. The man tried to escape from the vehicle but was pulled under water as it sank. Rescuers were able to pull him out and rush him to the hospital where he later died.

The victim was identified as 37-year-old William Jackson, WBRZ reported. Jackson's grim fate drew the attention of Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards who lamented Jackson's death in a post on Twitter and implored citizens to "please be safe and do not drive through standing water."

Further tragedy was avoided by the quick decisive actions of first responders carrying out water rescues. WBRZ aired dramatic video of firefighters saving a woman who was trapped inside a vehicle being swept away by raging floodwaters. Elsewhere in Baton Rouge, a possible tornado struck and flattened a home. The inhabitants of the destroyed house escaped with only minor injuries, according to the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office. All told, the NWS Storm Prediction Center reported at least eight tornadoes in the south-central U.S. on Thursday.

Initially on Thursday reports emerged that a male construction worker had died when he was electrocuted while working on the roof of a home around 4 p.m. local time in the San Antonio area.

Later, the Public Information Officer for the Bexar County Sheriff's Office told AccuWeather that sheriff's deputies responded to the scene and found the man unresponsive. They quickly performed life-saving measures then transported him to Stone Oak Methodist hospital. While initial reports said the casualty was due to lightning, the sheriff's office told AccuWeather Friday morning that it is still unknown how the worker was electrocuted.

Other places that racked up stunning rainfall totals include Midfield, Texas, which was deluged with more than 14 inches of rain from Wednesday into Thursday. Lane City, Texas, saw more than 11 inches and Welsh, Louisiana, picked up 11 inches over that same time period. Walker, located about 20 miles from Baton Rouge, was also inundated.

Wesley Wolfe, a storm chaser and certified weather spotter by the National Weather Service (NWS), said on Twitter that about 6 inches of rain fell in a span of just 90 minutes Thursday. "Never seen it this high," Wolfe marveled in another post on Twitter as the water threatened to enter his home.

He was hardly the only one on social media taken aback by extreme amounts of rainfall.

"Sometimes I feel like it’s the apocalypse often in New Orleans," Gale Marie said in a tweet on Thursday. She captured a video of the flooded streets in the city as water shot out a vent from below, further flooding the streets.

Downpours also exacerbated flooding problems in portions of Oklahoma and Arkansas, with numerous reports of flooding and water rescues around the Oklahoma City metro area on Thursday.

Late Thursday, The Conway Fire Department and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recommended the evacuation of all residents in the Lollie Bottoms area of Conway, Arkansas, due to deteriorating conditions at the Lollie Levee.

On Friday afternoon around 12:30 local time, city officials, including Mayor Bart Castleberry, said the levee was holding, but a breach appeared "imminent." 

Severe weather provided a one-two punch for many in the region. The NWS Storm Prediction Center listed six preliminary tornado reports in Louisiana as of Friday morning.

A video captured a tornado crossing the river near Convent, Louisiana. According to local broadcast meteorologist Steve Caparotta, only minor damage has been reported so far.

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Severe weather in Missouri
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Severe weather in Missouri
This still image taken from video provided by Chris Higgins shows a tornado, Wednesday, May 22, 2019, in Carl Junction, Mo. The tornado caused some damage in the town of Carl Junction, about 4 miles (6.44 kilometers) north of the Joplin airport. (Chris Higgins via AP)
This still image taken from video provided by Shayla Brooks shows a tornado on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, in Carl Junction, Mo. The tornado caused some damage in the town of Carl Junction, about 4 miles (6.44 kilometers) north of the Joplin airport. (Shayla Brooks via AP)
This Tuesday, May 21, 2019 photo released by Missouri State Highway Patrol shows the storm damage from a suspected tornado in Wright County at the Town and Country Supermarket in Hartville, Mo. Forecasters say parts of Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas could see more severe weather Wednesday. (Missouri State Highway Patrol via AP)
Crews begin to replace electric lines across from a tornado damaged home, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, near Mangum, Okla. Dangerous storms left a string of more than 30 tornadoes across the central U.S., damaging homes in Oklahoma, demolishing a racetrack grandstand in Missouri and inundating the region with water over a short period. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
This image made from video provided by KWTV-KOTV shows two funnel clouds formed in Crescent, Okla., Monday, May 20, 2019. An intense storm system that weather forecasters labeled "particularly dangerous" swept through the Southern Plains Monday, spawning a few tornadoes that caused some damage and a deluge of rain but no reports of injuries. (KWTV-KOTV via AP)
A tornado is seen in Magnum, Oklahoma, U.S., May 20, 2019 in this still image taken from a video obtained from social media on May 21, 2019. Dawson Henry/via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT.
JEFFERSON CITY, MO - MAY 23: Dirk Sluyter looks in a damaged storage unit on May 23, 2019 in Jefferson City, Missouri. Sluyter was looking for what remained of the boat he had just spent three months restoring. A series of powerful tornadoes killed at least three people in southwestern Missouri causing extensive damage in Jefferson City, the state capital. (Photo by Reed Hoffmann/Getty Images)
JEFFERSON CITY, MO - MAY 23: A truck is seen overturned near the remains of the Donnie Braun and Sons Auto Repair on May 23, 2019 in Jefferson City, Missouri. A tornado tore through the area late Thursday night. A series of powerful tornadoes killed at least three people in southwestern Missouri causing extensive damage in Jefferson City, the state capital. (Photo by Reed Hoffmann/Getty Images)
JEFFERSON CITY, MO - MAY 23: Mediacom employees look for their fiber cable among the wreckage of a Sonic Drive-In on May 23, 2019 in Jefferson City, Missouri. A series of powerful tornadoes killed at least three people in southwestern Missouri causing extensive damage in Jefferson City, the state capital. (Photo by Reed Hoffmann/Getty Images)
JEFFERSON CITY, MO - MAY 23: Trucks are piled on top of each other at Riley Auto Group on May 23, 2019 in Jefferson City, Missouri, after a tornado struck there. A series of powerful tornadoes killed at least three people in southwestern Missouri causing extensive damage in Jefferson City, the state capital. (Photo by Reed Hoffmann/Getty Images)
JEFFERSON CITY, MO - MAY 23: Trucks are piled on top of each other at Riley Auto Group on May 23, 2019 in Jefferson City, Missouri, after a tornado struck there. A series of powerful tornadoes killed at least three people in southwestern Missouri causing extensive damage in Jefferson City, the state capital. (Photo by Reed Hoffmann/Getty Images)
This aerial image shows severe storm damage in Jefferson City, Mo., Thursday, May 23, 2019, after a tornado hit overnight. A tornado tore apart buildings in Missouri's capital city as part of an overnight outbreak of severe weather across the state. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
A car is trapped under the fallen metal roof of the Break Time gas station and convenience store in tornado-hit Jefferson City, MO., Thursday, May 23, 2019. The National Weather Service has confirmed a large and destructive tornado has touched down in Missouri's state capital, causing heavy damage and trapping multiple people in the wreckage of their homes. (AP Photo/David A. Lieb)
Tavaris McClain, left, and Tyree Thompson clear debris to free McClain's mother's car outside her destroyed home Thursday, May 23, 2019 after a tornado tore though Jefferson City, Mo. late Wednesday. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
An uprooted tree rests on a home Thursday, May 23, 2019 after a tornado tore though Jefferson City, Mo. late Wednesday. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
This aerial image shows severe storm damage in Jefferson City, Mo., Thursday, May 23, 2019, after a tornado hit overnight. A tornado tore apart buildings in Missouri's capital city as part of an overnight outbreak of severe weather across the state. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Keith James, center, hurries to move a cabinet out of his house before the roof collapses in the Briarbrook neighborhood of Carl Junction, Mo., on Thursday, May 23, 2019. The National Weather Service says a deadly storm in southeast Kansas and southwest Missouri spawned four tornadoes in roughly 50 miles. Weather Service Meteorologist Mark Burchfield in Springfield, Mo., said Thursday that two of the tornadoes Wednesday night were EF3 tornadoes, including one in Carl Junction, with winds of 140 mph. (Roger Nomer/The Joplin Globe via AP)
The vacancy sign from the Historic Randles Court is blown to the ground Thursday morning, May 23, 2019, in Eldon, Mo. "I heard the sound change and I thought it was a pressure change. But then I came outside and saw what happened," property owner Jennifer Hart said. Hart and her husband rode out the tornado from inside the main office. (Kate Seaman/Missourian via AP)
This still image taken from video provided by Chris Higgins shows a tornado in Carl Junction, Mo., on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. The tornado caused damage in the town about 4 miles (6.44 kilometers) north of the Joplin airport. (Chris Higgins via AP)
Jessica Rodgers pushes a stroller carrying her sister Sophia Rodgers through downed power lines as they head to Rodgers' mother's apartment to check on damage Thursday, May 23, 2019, after a tornado tore though Jefferson City, Mo., late Wednesday, May 22. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
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