Gov. Edwards: Four possible storm-related deaths reported following flash flooding in Louisiana
Updated: 1:56 PM CDT May 18, 2021
are covering this press conference, we certainly didn’t intend to call it, but mother nature doesn’t always cooperate as we’re well aware by now. I do have with me today. In addition to General Qassem who heads up, go step here, Dr Shaun Wilson’s Secretary of Department of Transportation Development also butch browning the state Fire marshal, we’ve got brigadier general keith waddle as the General of National Guard and Colonel Lamar Davis, whose Superintendent Louisiana State Police. Obviously we are having this press conference because of the weather That we’ve experienced across south Louisiana over the last 24 hours. Plus yesterday afternoon I did declare a statewide state of emergency because of the severe weather. As you know today, we close state offices and four parishes, those being Calcasieu, east baton, rouge, Albertville and ascension if there are going to be additional closures tomorrow. Well, we’ll make that announcement later this afternoon. Um as you all may be aware, some parts of lake Charles received up to 15 inches of rain uh in localized areas which caused, and by the way, this fell over just 8 to 10 hours, an extreme amount of rain that cause extensive street flooding. And we know that many residences and businesses were flooded as well. And for the people in Southwest Louisiana who have been adversely affected by this weather event, our hearts are truly breaking. I’m sorry that you are having to deal with this again. Um, it was just a couple of weeks ago that president biden was in lake Charles uh, to discuss infrastructure and hurricane recovery. And here we are with another natural disaster that is set back those recovery efforts and cause damage is quite frankly in places that were not damaged by Hurricane Laura or Delta have been in frequent contact with Mayor Nick Hunter. Uh, and we continue to coordinate to ensure that all requests for assistance are being met. And of course here it goes that we’re talking to all the parishes run state routinely and that includes Calcasieu parish and the folks there at their emergency operations center. I’m doing the same thing here in the east Baton rouge with Mayor Sharon Weston Broome um areas from baton rouge to Gonzales appeared to be the most impacted in southeast Louisiana with upwards of 13 of rain that caused extensive flooding in that area. We know that that flooding extended for a big part of the river parishes as well. Um A lot of folks have been making comparisons already in 2016, especially the August flood and obviously in time you have severe flooding of this nature that I think there are comparisons to be made. Um This time though, we’ve had breaks in the rain that we didn’t have before, the water and river levels have been able to recede before the next round would roll in. And I think one of the things we’re benefiting from this time is that we haven’t had a lot of rain up north and so the rivers and creeks are able uh to follow a little faster this time and, and the water is not backing up as far, uh and it is receding more quickly. However, if you’re one of the people with water in your home or water in your automobile, then that’s a little consolation to you. So, this is a very serious weather event and we are certainly aware of that. And unfortunately more rain is on the way. We are anticipating additional rainfall tonight and tomorrow morning. You know, the forecasts are very imprecise and and the first people to tell you that, or the folks at the National Weather Service and the meteorologist, but we believe more there will be more rainfall tonight and tomorrow, uh, and then there should be a break and then an additional round of storms coming into the area on thursday. Um, but the situation remains fluid. These forecasts cannot be precise, so it is extremely important that everyone pay attention to your local authorities, watch the news, make sure that you’re looking at the National, I’m sorry, at the Weather Channel. And then if alerts come across for flash flooding, uh, whether it’s a watch or warning, please make sure that you heed those. Um, while we hope that the worst of this rainfall is behind us, we can’t be sure of that. And because the ground is already saturated and the rivers and creeks or high already, it doesn’t take as much new rainfall to have a very serious impact with report, with respect to more street flooding and flooding of homes and businesses. Unfortunately there have been some fatalities and the investigations are not complete, but this is what we know. Uh There was an incident in West Baton Rouge Parish last night and involving a submerged vehicle. It appears that one of those individuals is deceased, another was injured and yet another is missing. Uh And again that investigation continues. There’s also been reports that we’re working to confirm that a body has been found in a flooded vehicle in baton rouge on Bluebonnet boulevard. And obviously that investigation continues as well. And then there up to two additional deaths in baton rouge that may be linked to power outages. So altogether that’s four that’s one person injured, one person missing and all of that remains under investigation. And we do not have a report from a coroner linking any of the deaths to the to the to the flood event, but that may be forthcoming. So with what I just said, that should be a good reminder to everybody to please uh monitor the situation and then follow all of the guidance that you’re given, whether it’s from local officials are from the warnings, the flash flood warnings uh and watches and the worst place you can be in a flash flood is in your vehicle on the street. Uh and it is very dangerous uh and used to certainly never uh drive through water if you’re not 100 sure that it’s safe to do so, especially at night because the flooded flooded roadway is such that you don’t know where the road is and where the ditches are, and the ditches are always gonna be deeper. And this is extremely dangerous. So please stay off the road when these warnings go out, unless it is absolutely necessary uh for you to get out and that should be uh some some sort of an emergency. Um There are currently 10 weather-related road closures in the state. This number is frequently changing. Um and we’ve had a break thus far today and so the situation is improving, most notably on I 10 between Siegen and Highland Road here in East Baton Rouge Parish. It remains closed in both directions because of flooding, although the state police and D. O. T. D. Are working now to see whether they can open two lanes of travel uh through that stretch, but until that gets open, they’re going to be diverting Traffic onto us. 61 airline highway. Please visit 511 L A dot org. For real time information on road closures and road conditions. That’s the best place to go. That’s 511 L a dot org. It’ll tell you exactly what roads are closed, which ones are open. And when there’s a change in the status of a particular road that will be reflected there as well. There have been a number of search and rescue missions that have been undertaken In the last 24 hours, and I have the numbers from the state agencies. There are many more than this that have been performed locally, primarily in the lake Charles and in the baton rouge areas. But I can tell you that in Lake Charles, the wildlife and fisheries rescued 110 people and 15 pets. Uh in Lake Charles, the state fire marshal’s office rescued 78 people in five pets. Uh and they rescued an additional eight individuals in Baton Rouge. and in lake Charles Louisiana. National Guard rescued 19 people and to pets when it comes to shelters were encouraging everyone to pay attention to your parish office of Emergency preparedness. Uh They will be making announcements. We don’t have any state run shelters. Um and there were only two shelters and operation uh earlier today. I want to trinity baptist church in lake Charles. And as of about noon today, I think there were 120 or so individuals there. That shelter was depopulating. We’ll see what the situation is later today. And then here in baton rouge, the mayor set up shelter at the airport For individuals and there were about 30 individuals there. But as far as sheltering operations, those are all going to be locally run. And so we encourage people to make sure that your following the guidance of your local officials as of noon today, the Public Service Commission reported 10,430 outages And that was down from 25,000 outages at six am. So power restoration is happening relatively quickly. If you are without power, however, and you plan on using the generator, please make sure that you do so safely. I’ll remind you that we had a number of fatalities after the hurricanes last year. When individuals use generators, they did so too close to their home or maybe under their home in a crawl space or in a garage or under event or a window. Please make sure that you don’t do those things and get the generator at least 2050 ft from your house in a well ventilated area. And then if you’re going to change the fuel or refill it, make sure that it cools off completely before you do that. Finally, with hurricane season approaching and Beginning in just a couple of weeks on June one, it is reminder to everyone to please get a game plan. You can go to get a game plan dot org. Uh You will see that # one on the list is to get your covid vaccine. That’s part of getting a game plan so that if you have to leave and be sheltered either in a congregant sheltering a non congregants, sheltering or move in with a relative or a friend or anything like that. That it’s safe for all of you to do that. So please go to get a game plan dot org. Let’s make sure that everyone gets vaccinated and that’s the best way to start hurricane season. Well, speaking of Covid Today we did report 494 new COVID cases Uh and there are currently 299 individuals in the hospital across the state of Louisiana. And very sadly, we are reporting 11 additional deaths over the last 24 hours. As of today, We are at 10,500. Even in the number of people who died from COVID 19 since the start of the pandemic here and Louisiana. Um, and I know that people don’t necessarily want to think about covid or vaccinations when your house is being flooded or you’re worried that more rain is coming and so forth. But it is extremely important that we do that. 29.5 of our population is fully vaccinated and and that’s a Decent number. That’s a lot of shots. But that means that 70 are not fully vaccinated. And so that means we have a lot of work to do. If you need to get information about where to get vaccinated in Louisiana, visit covid vaccine dot la dot gov. Or you can call 18554530774. Again, please continue to monitor your local news and follow the advice of local officials. Uh Not sure yet when the next press conference will be. I know we’re scheduled to have one on thursday. That was the regularly scheduled press conference. Uh You see these individuals that are called out here today. So if you have a question that you want to direct to one of them, you may do so at at this time and I’ll take your questions as well. Yes sir. So far for total this for what? Well, first of all none of this has been confirmed by corner as being caused by the the rain event, the floods. However, at this time there are their investigations into four deaths. There’s one injury and one person missing. That’s correct yes, sir sir. How water equipment, anything deployed? Yeah. Yeah. That there there certainly is an uh by the way it’s it’s uh all over the state and I’ll let general waddle come up and tell you how His forces are arrayed. I did authorize him yesterday, go to 250 in terms of the number of national guardsmen activated for this particular Incident overnight. I think he pulled the trigger on 114 of those individuals. Of course that could have changed since your briefing this morning. But go ahead. Yes. So what?
Gov. Edwards: Four possible storm-related deaths reported following flash flooding in Louisiana
Gov. John Bel Edwards held a news conference Tuesday afternoon to discuss the recent severe weather that has impacted parts of Louisiana.Edwards confirmed that there were four fatalities in the Greater Baton Rouge area that are being investigated as possible storm-related deaths. One fatality was of a Port Allen man who plunged into a canal after an accident in West Baton Rouge. Edwards confirmed that a body of a 33-year-old man was found in a flooded vehicle on Blue Bonnet Boulevard in Baton Rouge. Two more additional deaths will likely be linked to power outages, according to Edwards. There is a Flash Flood Warning in effect for Southeast Louisiana until Wednesday. Edwards announced a State of Emergency Order Monday night for the state due to the weather impacts expected for the week. According to Edwards, up to 15 inches of rain fell in Lake Charles in a span of eight to 10 hours that caused extensive street flooding. Residences and businesses took on water. Edwards said the flooding caused the parish a setback in recovery efforts from the 2020 Hurricane Season. Areas from Baton Rouge to Gonzales were heavily impacted with up to 13 inches of rain causing extensive flooding. Edwards urged residents to prepare for the possibility of more flooding throughout the remainder of the week. According to Edwards, since creeks and rivers are already high, it would not take much more rainfall to cause more flooding problems. There is a Flash Flood Warning in effect for Southeast Louisiana until Wednesday.
BATON ROUGE, La. —
Gov. John Bel Edwards held a news conference Tuesday afternoon to discuss the recent severe weather that has impacted parts of Louisiana.
Edwards confirmed that there were four fatalities in the Greater Baton Rouge area that are being investigated as possible storm-related deaths.