Rescue crews in Mississippi evacuated dozens of children and seniors from floodwaters as heavy rain struck the Gulf Coast region. Photo by Bryan Bailey/Rankin County Sheriff's Dept./Facebook
Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Children and seniors in Mississippi rushed to evacuate as heavy downpours brought flooding to the region this week.
Florence Mayor Bob Morris said that 104 children, aged six weeks to five years old, were in the Railroad Daycare as floodwaters began to rise around the facility on Wednesday.
Florence police, the Rankin County Sheriff's Department and the Florence Fire Department arrived at the scene and successfully evacuated all the children after daycare staff called concerned that the floodwaters would make it inside the building.
Elsewhere in Rankin County, firefighters and sheriff's deputies rescued 30 residents as 3 feet of floodwaters from a nearby creek made their way into the Peach Tree Village Senior Living Home.
Rescuers were also able to salvage the residents' medications and other supplies as they were loaded onto buses and evacuated from the area.
"We have gotten everybody out of there, including the staff," Rankin County Supervisor Daniel Cross said.
Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey praised the sheriff's department employees for their work in a Facebook post.
"During disasters like today's flooding, all sheriff's department employees come together as a team and do whatever has to be done to help the people," Bailey wrote. "The citizens of Rankin County have true public servants working for them."
More than five million residents throughout the region were under flood watches through at least Thursday night as heavy rains made their way across the Gulf Coast from eastern Texas to the Florida panhandle.
In Mississippi, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba asked residents near the Pearl River to evacuate or be prepared to leave the area at a moment's notice.
Lumumba also declared a local emergency late Wednesday afternoon due to the risk of flash flooding in the city.
"The severe weather may include risk of moderate river flash flooding, threat of structural damage, and obstruction to roadways and bridges," Lumumba said. "There is the possibility of additional excessive rainfall."
The National Weather Service in Jackson warned residents living near the Chunky, Chickasawhay, Big Black and Pearl Rivers as well as the Tallahala Creek to be prepared for the waterways to crest Thursday night or Friday morning.
The NWS also forecast the rain to continue through the weekend with flooding possible as late a Saturday in Central Mississippi.