Heavy rains moved across the southern United States over the weekend, triggering flooding from Tennessee to Texas. On Sunday, President Obama declared a major disaster in Louisiana, where at least three people have been killed and 5,000 homes damaged, according to Reuters. The president’s declaration will make federal funding available for cleanup and repairs, which the mayor of Maryville — a town in southwestern Louisiana near the Texas border where 200 homes were damaged — said could take at least a month. The Louisiana National Guard said it had rescued more than 3,000 residents over the weekend, and meteorologists are calling the flooding “historic.”
Meanwhile at least 400 homes suffered damage in Mississippi, and Mississippi Emergency Management Agency director Lee Smithson told the Weather Channel that about 300 people have been evacuated since Wednesday. Mississippi governor Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency late on Thursday afternoon. In Oklahoma, a 30-year-old man drowned in his SUV attempting to cross a flooded bridge, and Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson issued a disaster declaration there as well. Texas and Tennessee are also experiencing flooding, and dozens of people in each state have been evacuated.
The flooding is the result of a slow-moving but steady storm system that has dumped as much as a foot of rain on some parts of the South. Unfortunately it shows no signs of letting up — on Sunday night, the National Weather Service warned that hail and damaging winds could hit parts of Arkansas and northern Louisiana, and rainfall is expected to continue this week. As Louisiana’s emergency management office said in a statement, “it’s not over.”