A massive storm dumped three months worth of rain on Louisiana Friday and Saturday, flooding area homes, killing at least three people, and forcing thousands to flee the rapidly rising water.
Gov. John Bel Edwards called the massive storm a “historic flood event” and declared a state of emergency for the Southern part of the state, according to CNN.
“This is a major disaster. This is an ongoing event and we are still in the response mode.”
There’s worse news: this year’s hurricane season promises to be the worst on record since Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast in 2012 and killed 233 people. Observers are calling the increasing number of super storms a result of climate change saying things will only get worse from here.
Louisiana residents in Baker and Baton Rouge woke Friday morning to find their houses flooded and were forced to flee through rising waters filled with snakes and unearthed caskets as local rivers and creeks overflowed.
Leroy Hansford, 62, spoke to Fox News after he was rescued from his home near Gloster, saying the nearby Beaver Creek crested its banks during the night.
“We woke up and the water kept on coming. It came up to my waist.”
Soldiers on boats and helicopters were busy rescuing residents trapped on their rooftops as seven highways flooded, leaving people stranded in the area and unable to escape. They were able to save over 1,000 residents and more than 100 pets from the swift moving flood waters, including one woman who was pulled from her car along with her dog just as it sank below the water, Edwards told CNN.
“People that should have evacuated didn’t, so they are having to be evacuated.”
The Louisiana National Guard has also deployed about 1,000 soldiers with 170 high-water vehicles, 20 boats, and five helicopters to aid in search and rescue efforts.
The massive super storm began Friday morning and in just 12 hours more than a foot of rain had fallen with another several inches being recorded Saturday. While the storm doesn’t technically meet the requirements of a tropical storm or hurricane, because it’s a slow-moving weather front, the National Weather Service is treating it the same way, according to the Pacific Standard.
“An instant analysis from Climate Nexus refers to today’s Louisiana rainstorm as a “classic signal of climate change.”
Diagnosis of extreme rain-fall rates & flooding in Louisiana: precipitable water values > 3" typical of hurricane pic.twitter.com/nchvxc5VoM— Ryan Maue (@RyanMaue) August 12, 2016
The storm is tropical in nature and record-level warm water temperature in the Gulf of Mexico is fueling the historic flooding in Louisiana. It’s the same type of weather that caused the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to revise this year’s expected number of hurricanes upward, NOAA hurricane forecaster Gerry Bell, Ph.D. told CBS News.
“We’ve raised the numbers because some conditions now in place are indicative of a more active hurricane season, such as El Nino ending, weaker vertical wind shear and weaker trade winds over the central tropical Atlantic, and a stronger west African monsoon.”
The new projections call for 12 to 17 tropical storms this year with five to eight of those expected to develop into hurricanes.
Experts say the super storm in Louisiana is a once in a 500-year event, but this same type of flooding has been recorded at least eight other times this year in Oklahoma, Texas, South Carolina, Louisiana, Virginia, and Maryland.
There’s a problem with this kind of statistical analysis when monitoring today’s super storms like the one in Louisiana as meteorologist Eric Holthaus points out in the Pacific Standard.
“[They assume] the climate of the past is the same as the climate of today. That’s no longer a very good assumption.”
What do you think about the rising flood waters in Louisiana?
[Photo by Max Becherer/AP Images]