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Deadly slow-moving storm creates potential record-level floods in Louisiana

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24-Hour Rain Totals Thurs. - Fri. (Source: WAFB) 24-Hour Rain Totals Thurs. - Fri. (Source: WAFB)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

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A slow-moving storm system is creating historic flooding for parts of Louisiana and the rain is expected to continue through the weekend. 

A flash flood watch is in effect across the entire WAFB viewing area until 7 a.m. Sunday. It includes Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, Tangipahoa, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana parishes. It is also in effect for Amite, Pike and Wilkinson counties.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency because of flooding caused by a slow-moving storm system.  The declaration will remain in effect until September 10. 

Around the same time the governor declared a state of emergency, rescue crews pulled the body of a man from high water. 

Crews were dispatched to Zachary around 10:30 a.m. Officials have not yet confirmed the name of the victim. However, the victim's roommate tells us the two were leaving the home due to water that was rapidly rising around the home. He said the man slipped, fell, and never came back up. 

RELATED: Rescue crew in Zachary recovers body of senior from flood waters

There was a second drowning victim Friday evening as officials in St. Helena Parish said three vehicles fell into floodwaters when Hwy 10 gave way. Search and rescue crews recovered the body of one of the drivers. They were also able to rescue four other people.

RELATED: Crews recover body of drowning victim during search for vehicles in St. Helena Parish?

RIVER STAGES

The Salvation Army expanded the number of beds in its homeless shelters and made special areas for flood victims. 

Salvation Army canteens have served about 80 meals on Central Street in north Baton Rouge Friday, working with churches to serve meals to flood-displaced people in two Livingston Parish shelters. 

LIST OF ROAD CLOSURES/SANDBAG LOCATIONS

Models indicate that the state will see historic flooding due to the flooding that started in some areas as early as Thursday afternoon. The majority of the rain, however, started to collect Friday morning around 5 a.m.

Several high water rescues are being conducted and emergency shelters are being opened. Deputies with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office rescued residents from the Jackson Park subdivision in Central. More than 200 people were evacuated in Tangipahoa Parish. The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office reported its maritime division evacuated residents in Central Woods subdivision due to high water. 

There were 39 National Guard high water vehicles and five boat teams spread out across flooded areas. They were working mainly in St. Helena, Tangipahoa, West Feliciana, Iberia and Lafayette parishes. More than 50 people have been rescued. Boat teams are on stand by to conduct search and rescue missions if needed. 

LIST OF CURFEWS IN SEVERAL PARISHES

Several parishes have put curfews in place from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. The Zachary Police Department reported a curfew is in place for the city until further notice. Chief David McDavid is asking everyone to stay off the roads unless it is an emergency.

Roadways from East Baton Rouge Parish to neighboring counties in Mississippi are flooded. Officials are asking residents to stay off the roads.  

“Some of the things we’re seeing – cars driving around barricades, cars driving through roads with moving water, driving through roads with water and pushing that water up into peoples’ yards – certainly we want people to be safe and adhere to the warnings that are out there,” said Major Doug Cain with the Louisiana State Police. “The best thing they can do is just stay home, stay safe and stay dry.” 

VIDEO: Interview with Major Doug Cain from Louisiana State Police

Although schools did close Friday, some buses were already on the road. A Zachary school bus loaded with children became stuck in high water Friday morning. The children had to escape out the emergency door on the back of the bus.

WAFB Chief Meteorologist Jay Grymes says this weather event will be as bad, if not worse, than the flooding experienced in this region back in March. 

RELATED: March 2016 Flash Flooding

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