DENHAM SPRINGS, La. - Across southern Louisiana Sunday, residents scrambled to get to safety as rivers and creeks burst their banks, swollen from days of heavy rain that in some areas came close to two feet over a 48-hour period.
Sunday afternoon, Maj. Doug Cain of the Louisiana State Police said that so far 18,000 people have been rescued from East Baton Rouge and Livingston Parishes.
Four people have been reported dead, said Devin George, the state registrar for vital records. The death toll rose Sunday when a man's body was found washed up on a riverbank in Tangipahoa Parish.
The heaviest rain totals were noted from Louisiana's Florida Parishes, across the Atchafalaya Basin and south and west to Vermillion Bay.
A narrow band of 20+ inches of rain fell across East Baton Rouge Parish into northwestern Livingston Parish.
Rain amounts in this part of the state are more than 600 percent above normal for August 7-13.
'Major' disaster declared
Gov. Edwards declared a state of emergency Saturday, calling the floods "unprecedented" and "historic." He and his family were even forced to leave the Governor's Mansion when chest-high water filled the basement and electricity was shut off.
Sunday evening, the governor declared a "major disaster."
"I have traveled to affected areas and have seen the destruction caused by this unprecedented flooding," said Gov. Edwards in a statement.