Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a statewide weather emergency. Flooding caused around two dozen cars from a Norfolk Southern freight train to derail Saturday near Hillsdale, Mississippi. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the Bonnet Carré spillway on Friday to relieve stress on New Orleans levees.
As the swollen Mississippi River continues to rise in the South, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a statewide emergency amid continuing torrential downpours and storms.
Flooding caused around two dozen cars from a Norfolk Southern freight train to derail Saturday near Hillsdale, Mississippi, WLOX reported. No injuries were reported in the incident.
Multiple high-water rescues were reported in Pearl River County, Mississippi, while water from Wolf River was overtopping portions of Interstate 59.
A man was killed after he drove into a stopped semi-trailer on I-59 Saturday morning. The big rig was reportedly stopped because of standing water on the interstate, WLOX reported.
In an effort to relieve stress on New Orleans levees, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the Bonnet Carré spillway about 28 miles north of the city on Friday.
The opening marks the first time the spillway has been used twice in a single year and only the 14th time it has been opened since it was built in the aftermath of a historic flood that swamped New Orleans in 1927.
The Corps had decided on Thursday to open the spillway next week, but changed the timeline due to high amounts of rainfall.
“Regional rainfall caused the Mississippi River to rise 6 inches in the past 24 hours with more rain expected through the weekend,” Corps spokesman Matt Roe said in a press release. “These rains could elevate the Mississippi River above 17 feet with a peak as high as 17.5 feet at the Carrollton Gage. In an abundance of caution the operation date is being moved forward to ensure the safe passage of this high water by limiting the elevations downriver of the spillway.”
Dozens of motorists in the Houston area became stranded Friday by storms that left tens of thousands of homes and businesses in the dark.
On Friday, a person was rescued from a vehicle that was discovered flipped and submerged in a flooded ditch, the Houston Fire Department tweeted.
As of Saturday morning, nearly 34,000 homes and businesses remained without power in Texas.
Some storms brought damaging hail to the area. The Carlyss Fire Department reported that hail punched through a fiberglass roof at the station. There was also a report that the roof of a home collapsed under the weight of the hail.
Images posted to social media show tennis-ball-sized hail on broken windshields.
SULPHUR LOUISIANA HAIL STORM 5.09.19 pic.twitter.com/9bYcIQ9Kl6— Sulphur Carlyss (@lelanjlaborde) May 10, 2019
This week’s flooding in the flood-prone Houston area has brought back memories of flooding from Hurricane Harvey in 2017, when more than 50 inches of rain fell in less than 48 hours in some areas.
Since then, any amount of flooding places city officials on high alert. Overnight, emergency crews were staged throughout the city in anticipation of possible flooding.
“Please stay off the roads tonight. We hope you won’t need them but if you do, our firefighters and police are staged with their rescue equipment. Remember, you put not only your lives but the lives of our brave first responders at risk when you go out in a flood,” Turner tweeted.
Please stay off the roads tonight. We hope you won't need them but if you do, our firefighters and police are staged with their rescue equipment. Remember, you put not only your lives but the lives of our brave first responders at risk when you go out in a flood.— Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) May 10, 2019
Additional rounds of heavy rain and a few severe thunderstorms may trigger flash flooding throughout the weekend in parts of the South and East, from Texas and Louisiana to the Tennessee Valley, Appalachians and Virginia.
You better be ready!