The heavy rain also resulted in flash flood emergencies, with parts of southwest Louisiana receiving up to 17 inches of water. Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter, who rode the storm in a downtown building, said the experience felt a little like “deja vu”.
“We’re all tired,” he told CNN partner KPLC late Friday. “The sun will come out again. Since we are right in the middle of it, the main concern is human security and human life.”
For the rest of the southern Mississippi River Valley to the Tennessee Valley, heavy rain and flooding will remain the primary concern through Saturday evening. Parts of the region could see rainfall in excess of 8 inches before the weekend is over.
Tornadoes were also possible over parts of southern Louisiana and Mississippi as well as over Alabama, Tennessee and the Panhandle in western Florida on Saturday morning, the National Hurricane Center said.
A double blow for southwest Louisiana
Hunter said the city was dealt a double blow on Friday between the wind destruction from Hurricane Laura and the floods that could leave the delta.
“Early reports say this will be more of a flood event for us than Laura,” he told CNN on Friday. Search and rescue should begin when the wind subsides, he said.
But the city’s leader said he wasn’t sure how many people stayed behind to weather the storm. The highways outside Lake Charles were jammed when people were evacuated before the storm – and another 7,000, according to Hunter estimates, have still been replaced since Laura.
“I will take up all the thoughts and prayers I can get now,” he said on Friday.
About 10 miles west in Sulfur, Louisiana, a resident posted pictures of flooded streets warning of fallen trees and debris that had been “blown by the wind” and was now underwater.