Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency on Saturday, May 11, at 17:30 (local time) due to the continuation of severe weather and threat of flooding. Intense thunderstorms hit the Gulf of Mexico coast and lower Mississippi River basin from east Texas state, including the Houston area, to Mississippi state. Around 20 cm (8 in) of rain was forecast for Saturday in Louisiana with localized amounts up to 40 cm (16 in). Widespread flooding was reported and expected to continue in the coming days and weeks. Furthermore, heavy rains in the northern Midwest and Plains in the past few weeks have already resulted in moderate to major flooding in the northern and central portions of the Mississippi River basin and will contribute to high water levels in Louisiana and Mississippi states. Meteorologists predict the Mississippi River will remain at flood stage until at least mid-June.
Disruptions were reported across the region, including temporary closures to I-10 and flight diversions at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston (Texas state). Flooding along the Mississippi River and its tributaries has resulted in some road closures and affected boating operations along the river, including ferries. Levees were reported topped near Angola (Louisiana state), resulting in some flooding of farmland. Further road closures and infrastructure damage are possible as long as flooding persists.
Individuals in the affected areas are advised to monitor local weather and flood stage reports, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities (e.g. road closures, evacuations), anticipate flooding and associated power and transportation disruptions, and do not drive through inundated roadways. Remember that walking or driving through running water can be dangerous - 15 cm (6 in) is enough to knock over an adult - and that floodwater may contain wastewater and chemical products; all items having come into contact with floodwater should be disinfected and all foodstuffs discarded.
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