More dead in Deep South flooding; water levels to rise

By Amy R. Connolly   |   Updated March 13, 2016 at 12:51 PM
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HATTIESBURG , Miss., March 13 (UPI) -- Parts of the Deep South are bracing for more rain Sunday and flooding later this week after six people died in historic flooding that has also destroyed homes and washed out roads.

At least three people died in Louisiana, one in Texas and one in Oklahoma. Two fishermen were reported missing in Mississippi. More than 24 inches of rain has fallen in some of the hardest-hit areas of Mississippi, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

Mississippi officials said 95 homes have major damage and nearly 300 have minor damage in 41 counties. The flooding is the worst since 2012, when Hurricane Issac dumped more than 24 inches of rain in the area.

In Louisiana, the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness said nearly 5,000 homes have been damaged by flooding. Thousands have been forced from their homes.

"Our first goal is to help our local partners through the response phase of this event," GOHSEP Director James Waskom said. "We will begin to transition into the recovery phase as conditions improve. We have been working with [Federal Emergency Management Agency] for the past several days in an effort to streamline the disaster assessment process that will ultimately determine what level of federal support will be available for individuals, parishes and state agencies dealing with flood."

Forecasters said the nasty weather will continue Sunday through the Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas areas, with the possibility of large hail, strong winds and tornadoes late Sunday.

The National Weather Service said the flooding won't end for days. The Big SunFlower River, a main tributary of the Yazoo River in Mississippi, is expected to crest at 28.5 feet on Wednesday.

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