Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency after severe flooding in the state. Lake Charles and surrounding areas of Calcasieu Parish recorded more than 15 inches / 381 mm of rain in 12 hours on 17 May 2021.
Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter said this was the third heaviest rain event in the history of the city. He speculated that more structures have been flooded than were during the 2020 hurricanes Laura and Delta combined. He said early assessments suggest “at minimum 400 to 500″ buildings have been flooded. Emergency crews received hundreds of calls for flood rescues from people trapped in their homes.
Areas of Baton Rouge were also badly affected. Baton Rouge Mayor, Sharon Weston Broome, reported 250 people were rescued or evacuated to higher ground. Around 50 roads were blocked by flood waters and 3 people died in vehicle accidents on flooded roads. Outages left 16,000 without power. Streets were flooded in parts of New Orleans metropolitan area, leaving vehicles stranded.
Governor John Bel Edwards said, “the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) stands ready to support our local partners with any emergency resources needed beyond their capabilities. We are only a few weeks away from the start of hurricane season, but this threat is the latest in a string of recent weather threats that remind us of the importance of preparedness and staying informed.”
Severe flooding also affected parts of Texas. Homes were flooded, prompting some evacuations in Fannett and other parts of Jefferson County. As of early 19 May street flooding was also reported in parts of Houston.
Further severe weather is expected. The National Weather Service said the danger of flash flooding will persist for portions of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi until at least 19 May 2021.
Two dozen SFM personnel with nine boats have deployed to the Lake Charles area to assist Lake Charles FD with flood response.
In the last hour, this has included nearly 30 rescues/requests to evacuate.
Please keep the residents of southwest Louisiana in your thoughts tonight. pic.twitter.com/NH8t9MEfT2
— Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal (@LAFIREMARSHAL) May 18, 2021
— Justin Aaron (@JustinAaronUH91) May 18, 2021
In some locations, we saw 13” of rainfall, far more than any drainage system can handle. Please continue to pay attention to weather reports as East Baton Rouge Parish remains under a Flash Flood Watch into Wednesday.
— Sharon Weston Broome (@MayorBroome) May 18, 2021
⚠️ Here are the rainfall readings we have received so far from yesterday & last nights rain event.
— NWS New Orleans (@NWSNewOrleans) May 18, 2021
A severe thunderstorm with torrential downpours of rain causes major floods yesterday afternoon in Lake Charles, Louisiana
KWT Dave pic.twitter.com/tcsdBYKggt
— Kernow Weather Team (@KWTWeather) May 18, 2021
— NWS Weather Prediction Center (@NWSWPC) May 18, 2021
Here are the latest rainfall totals over the last 12 hours in Calcasieu parish. The highest amounts of 12 to 15 inches fell in south Lake Charles. ~ Donald pic.twitter.com/KGn0jVgNAE
— NWS Lake Charles (@NWSLakeCharles) May 17, 2021
For SE TX: Flash Flood Watch in effect thru Thursday morning. Much of the area has some potential for excessive rainfall. Tuesday thru Thursday totals are expected to average 4 to 8 inches. Isolated spots could exceed 10 inches. Stay Weather Aware! #txwx #houwx #glswx #bcswx pic.twitter.com/3ww2RhLQbT
— NWS Houston (@NWSHouston) May 18, 2021