Louisiana flood death toll rises to 13 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Louisiana flood death toll rises to 13

Posted: Updated:
BATON ROUGE, La. -

The Latest on flooding in the Deep South (all times local):
    
6:30 p.m.
    
The state says the death toll from the recent storms and flooding in south Louisiana has risen to 13.
    
Devin George, state registrar for vital records, says an elderly woman in Livingston Parish was confirmed Wednesday as the latest death. He didn't provide further details.
    
The state says five people have died in East Baton Rouge Parish, three in Tangipahoa Parish, two in St. Helena Parish, two in Livingston Parish and one in Rapides Parish from the storms and their aftermath.
    
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5:50 p.m.
    
Authorities say the death toll from Louisiana's massive flooding has risen to 12.
    
Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard says the state Fire Marshal's Office took a team into the South Point subdivision, where water had receded, to check homes, and a man's body was discovered in a wooded area where water had risen to about 5 feet at one time.
    
Ard says the victim was in his 50s and they're working to identify him.
    
The sheriff says it's the first confirmed body found in the parish.
    
State officials, who are keeping a running tally of deaths related to flooding, confirmed the death Wednesday.
    
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4:45 p.m.
    
Federal officials tracking the mosquito-borne Zika virus say they aren't expecting an increased risk in flood-ravaged south Louisiana.
    
Flooding and storms often boost the mosquito population. But Dr. Ben Beard with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that those aren't the mosquito types that transmit viruses like Zika.
    
Beard says flooding "can actually make the risk of Zika go down for now," because the two mosquito species that transmit the virus typically live in containers around houses, like bird baths and plant coasters. Those containers get washed out with severe storms and the mosquitoes get swept away with them.
    
The CDC says it continues to closely monitor the situation with state and local health officials.
    
Babies born to women infected with Zika can have severe birth defects.
    
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4:30 p.m.
    
Mississippi officials say heavy rains last week and through the weekend damaged roads in six counties in the southern part of the state. On Wednesday, 44 people who evacuated because of the storms remained in a shelter in Natchez.
    
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency says 23 roads and 10 bridges were damaged in Wilkinson County, which borders Louisiana and is north of Baton Rouge. Two homes in the county were destroyed and 23 had major damage from flooding.
    
Roads were also damaged in Adams, Amite and Pike counties near the Louisiana line; Copiah County south of Jackson; and Harrison County on the Gulf Coast.
    
No deaths or serious injuries were reported from flooding in Mississippi Aug. 11-14. Storm damage was significantly worse in Louisiana.
    
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3:55 p.m.
    
Widespread flooding in southern Louisiana has prompted a community college to delay the start of its fall semester. It's the second such announcement this week.
    
Baton Rouge Community College says it will delay the start of the fall semester by one week, to Aug. 29, after flooding ravaged the surrounding community.
    
WBRZ-TV (http://bit.ly/2b1vTSy) reports the college also plans to remain closed for the rest of this week.
    
School officials said Wednesday that the closure will let them assess the facilities and grounds. Students, faculty and staff also will have time to resolve any issues before classes begin.
    
Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond postponed the start of classes to Monday, Aug. 22. Classes originally were scheduled to start Wednesday.
    
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2:40 p.m.
    
The White House says Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson will visit Louisiana on Thursday to review the federal government's response to the widespread flooding that has damaged tens of thousands of businesses and houses.
    
Spokeswoman Jennifer Friedman says President Barack Obama also spoke with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate on Wednesday morning to get an update after Fugate's visit to the state. She says Obama directed Fugate to use all available resources to assist in the response and recovery, and to regularly update him. Obama received the briefing while in Martha's Vineyard, a Massachusetts island.
    
Residents in 20 parishes are eligible for disaster assistance as a result of a federal disaster declaration. Friedman says more than 70,000 people have registered for individual assistance and more than 9,000 have filed flood insurance claims.
    
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1:10 p.m.
    
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards is trying to make sure widespread flooding doesn't cause problems in pending legal proceedings.
    
State Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson said in a Tuesday news release that Edwards has issued an executive order imposing an emergency suspension of all deadlines for legal proceedings in state courts, administrative agencies and boards.
    
The order is effective retroactively to last Friday and lasts until Sept. 9.
    
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12:10 p.m.
    
The number of Louisiana residents staying in shelters is falling as floodwater drains from the worst-hit parishes in the state.
    
State officials say 6,000 people remained in shelters Wednesday, down from more than 11,000 earlier in the week.
    
It wasn't immediately clear why the number has dropped: whether some who evacuated as a precaution didn't get flooded or if others moved in with family and friends or returned to stay in damaged houses.
    
At an events facility in Ascension Parish, 1,100 animals remained sheltered.
    
More than 40,000 homes were damaged and at least 30,000 people and 1,400 pets were rescued as the storm hit parishes across south Louisiana with heavy rains and severe flooding. Eleven deaths have been attributed to the storm.
    
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11 a.m.
    
The U.S. Small Business Administration plans to open several south Louisiana locations to help businesses damaged by record flooding.
    
Louisiana's economic development office is encouraging business owners to register for federal disaster aid and to look at other available support services at www.OpportunityLouisiana.com. The site has links to federal, state and nonprofit agencies offering assistance for water-damaged companies.
    
Federal aid is available for businesses located within the 20 parishes included in the federal disaster declaration. The SBA provides loans of up to $2 million to repair and replace damaged equipment, inventory and property.
    
At least 11 people have died, and tens of thousands of businesses and homes have been damaged from flooding.
    
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10 a.m.
    
Lady Gaga says she's pitching in to help with flood relief efforts in Louisiana.
    
The entertainer tweeted early Wednesday morning that she and her family are donating to relief efforts. She says she gives "thoughts and prayers to all of our loved ones in Louisiana suffering through the flood." Gaga didn't say how much she is donating or if she plans on giving in other ways. Her representatives didn't immediately return a request for comment.
    
The announcement comes a day after Taylor Swift told The Associated Press she is donating $1 million to the relief effort.
    
At least 40,000 homes have been damaged and 11 people have been killed in the floods.
    
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9:55 a.m.
    
Flood waters have receded in Louisiana's Livingston Parish, but they've left behind an atmosphere of determination to recover mixed with disbelief and uncertainty.
    
In conversations, residents and business owners in the town of Albany repeatedly note that the area had never flooded before - and flood insurance wasn't required.
    
Chris Bankston was with workers mucking out his family-owned auto parts store Wednesday. He says his father opened the business close to 70 years ago. He says water had never gotten within 200 yards of his business, until the weekend. By Sunday, the gasoline pumps out front were covered with water.
    
Officials in Livingston Parish have estimated that 75 percent of the homes were a total loss. About 138,000 people live in the parish.
    
__
    
6:25 a.m.
    
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has taken a step to make sure widespread flooding in Louisiana doesn't cause problems in pending legal proceedings.
    
State Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson said in a Tuesday news release that Edwards has issued an executive order imposing an emergency suspension of all deadlines for legal proceedings in state courts, administrative agencies and boards.
    
The order is effective retroactively to last Friday and lasts until Sept. 9.
    
___
    
5:45 a.m.
    
The Red Cross says more than 1,000 disaster volunteers have been mobilized from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to help with the Louisiana flood relief efforts.
    
Brad Kieserman, vice president, Disaster Services Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross, said in a news release the massive relief operation will cost at least $30 million.
    
Kieserman says the flooding in Louisiana is the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since Superstorm Sandy.
    
He said the Red Cross is also seeking additional volunteers to assist in Louisiana.
    
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2 a.m.
    
The heartbreaking task of sorting through waterlogged belongings and ripping out carpets and drywall is kicking into high gear in flood-wracked southern Louisiana.
    
Residents will continue going back to their homes Wednesday, assessing damage and getting to work on repairs, in areas where the waters have receded enough.
    
Downstream many are eyeing swollen rivers to see whether more damage is coming.
    
Hundreds of people evacuated to a shelter in Ascension Parish as the river water that hit areas around Baton Rouge worked its way south.
    
The state also faces a long-term challenge of how to house the thousands of displaced people and how to pay for the damage the water left behind.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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