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At least four die as floods hit U.S. south, thousands of homes damaged
March 14, 2016 / 4:09 AM / in 2 years

At least four die as floods hit U.S. south, thousands of homes damaged

(Reuters) - Several people were killed after drenching thunderstorms moved through Louisiana and Mississippi at the weekend, triggering flooding across the lower Mississippi valley, authorities said.

Floodwaters from heavy rains are seen in this aerial picture released by the U.S. Air National Guard photo in Ponchatoula, Louisiana taken March 12, 2016. Drenching rains this week have killed three people in Louisiana and one in Oklahoma. Picture taken March 12, 2016. REUTERS/U.S. Air National Guard/ Master Sgt. Toby M. Valadie/Handout via Reuters

Rainfall, which meteorologists said reached two feet in some areas, killed three people in Louisiana and one in Oklahoma. Two fishermen were missing in Mississippi on Sunday, according to emergency management officials.

President Barack Obama declared flooding in Louisiana a major disaster on Sunday, providing aid for victims.

Louisiana’s emergency management office warned in a statement “the crisis is not over.” It said some 5,000 homes had already been damaged.

Floodwaters cover Route 22 in this picture released by the U.S. Air National Guard photo in Ponchatoula, Louisiana taken March 12, 2016. REUTERS/U.S. Air National Guard/ Master Sgt. Toby M. Valadie/Handout via Reuters

The National Weather Service (NWS) warned on Sunday night of a tornado threat and potential for hail and damaging winds across eastern Arkansas and northern Louisiana.

Portions of the lower Mississippi Valley were at risk for severe thunderstorms through Monday morning, the NWS said, which could trigger flash flooding. River levels were expected to remain high in the region as excessive rain water drains, it said.

A car lies submerged in the Tall Timbers subdivision after flooding near Shreveport, Louisiana March 9, 2016, in a photo provided by the Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office. REUTERS/Deputy Josh Cagle/Bossier Sheriff's Office/Handout via Reuters

The Louisiana National Guard, working around the clock for several days, said it had rescued more than 3,295 citizens and 316 pets. Some 1,300 guardsmen responded to flooding in more than 25 parishes, conducting evacuations, search and rescue by vehicle, boat and helicopter, and providing security and shelter.

Authorities and meteorologists described the flooding as historic and the worst seen in the region apart from that spawned by hurricanes.

Scores of roads and bridges were closed throughout the region at the weekend. In Mississippi, almost 400 homes suffered damage from the rainfall and flooding, the state emergency agency said.

Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Paul Tait

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