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Southern Flooding Update


For people in many parts of the country, it's not a great weekend to be outside. Extreme heat, high humidity and heavy rains are creating dangerous, even deadly, weather conditions across the U.S. NPR's Nathan Rott starts us out in Louisiana, where at least three people have died and thousands have been rescued from flooding.

NATHAN ROTT, BYLINE: Ariel Jones says it first started raining at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge Thursday afternoon. Saturday, the incoming freshman posted a video of a flooded campus parking lot on social media.


ARIEL JONES: Y'all, I just want y'all to know how crazy this is.

ROTT: it shows water up to cars' bumpers and spilling over sidewalks. We reached her on the phone after.

JONES: It's so much water, and it has not stopped raining. Like, it'll slow down, but it'll pick back up. Like, it's just - it's so crazy.

ROTT: Jones is one of thousands of people in Louisiana who are hunkered down and waiting for a slow-moving storm to abate. The storm has brought more than 2 feet of rain to the hardest hit parts of the state in the last three days, flooding low-lying areas and filling waterways far beyond their banks. The Tickfaw River, for example, rose 20 feet in 14 hours. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards is calling the flooding a truly historic event. And in a news conference, he says that's making emergency planning all the more challenging.


GOV JOHN BEL EDWARDS: Because these are record floods, we don't know how wide the water is going to get in those areas. We don't have records that we can go back and see who all's going to be impacted.

ROTT: People have been rescued from rooftops, cars and trees. Even the governor's mansion has flooded.


EDWARDS: This is certainly not over. The rain continues to fall.

ROTT: And it's expected to keep falling in Louisiana until the storm moves west into Texas. Flash flood warnings have been posted there and in other parts of the country as well, from Indiana and Kentucky to northern Vermont and New York. On the East Coast, the weather is less volatile but no less dangerous. It's not rain and flooding but high temperatures and stifling humidity. Excessive heat warnings are in effect from North Carolina to Massachusetts. The heat index in Washington, D.C., hit 114 degrees Saturday, delaying the start to a Major League Soccer game. New York City hit 105. Out west, excessive heat warnings were issued for Oregon, and dry, windy conditions prompted fire weather watches in California, Colorado and Utah through the weekend. Nathan Rott, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Nathan Rott is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, where he focuses on environment issues and the American West.

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