More Than 20K Rescued From Louisiana Floods
Hundreds had to abandon cars on I-12
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 15, 2016 1:15 AM CDT
Floodwaters reach the front steps of a home near Holden, La.    (Max Becherer)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – More than 20,000 people were rescued from their homes as rivers swollen from days of heavy rain flooded their banks and wreaked havoc across southern Louisiana, leaving thousands homeless, the AP reports. At least 10,000 people were in shelters Sunday, according to Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards. In high-water vehicles, boats, and helicopters, emergency crews hurried to rescue south Louisiana residents as the governor warned it was not over. From the air, homes in southwest Louisiana looked more like little islands surrounded by flooded fields. Farmland was covered, streets descended into impassable pools of water, and shopping centers were inundated with only roofs of cars peeking above the water.

From the ground it was just as catastrophic. Drivers tried to navigate treacherous roads where the water lapped at the side or covered the asphalt in a running stream. Authorities worked throughout Sunday to rescue people from cars stranded on a miles-long stretch of Interstate 12 until the governor announced late in the day that everyone had been rescued. Edwards called on people to refrain from going out to "sightsee" even as the weather gets better. "This is a serious event. It is ongoing. It is not over," the governor said The federal government has declared a major disaster in the state, where the flooding has caused at least five deaths. (Gov. Edwards and his family were among the evacuees.)