6 dead in widespread flooding across South as area braces for tornadoes

Heavy downpours in the South have caused severe flooding, submerging roads and cars, washing out bridges and forcing residents to flee homes.

Six people have been confirmed dead this week as a result of the storms, The Weather Channel reported. At least three people died in Louisiana, the Associated Press reported. Two fishermen were reported missing in Mississippi.

Forecasters predicted another round of showers and thunderstorms Sunday afternoon and evening, some of which could be severe, in parts of the Mississippi Valley where flooding has already caused considerable damage, The Weather Channel reported.

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Volunteers return to a flooded house in Clarksdale, Miss., Friday, March 11, 2016, to assist the owners retrieve personal items as flood waters continued to rise following another morning of rain. (Troy Catchings/The Clarksdale Press Register, via AP)  /The Press Register via AP) MANDATORY CREDITExpand / Contract

Volunteers return to a flooded house in Clarksdale, Miss., Friday, March 11, 2016. (Troy Catchings/The Clarksdale Press Register, via AP)

The threat includes large hail and possibly a few tornadoes.

The storm system is projected to move through quickly, according to The Weather Channel.

As of Saturday evening, Mississippi officials reported damage to 95 homes, minor damage to 277 others, with reports still coming in from 41 of the state’s 82 counties.

The flooding was the worst since 2012, when Hurricane Isaac dumped more than 24 inches of rain throughout the state, Lee Smithson, head of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, said.

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Zavion Watson, right, pulls a boat full of relatives to dry land Friday, March 11, 2016, as they evacuate their homes on West Fontana Road in Independence, La., after heavy rains caused low areas to flood. (AP Photo/Scott Threlkeld) Expand / Contract

avion Watson, right, pulls a boat full of relatives to dry land Friday, March 11, 2016, as they evacuate their homes in Independence, La. (AP Photo/Scott Threlkeld)

However, he said, “It has not been quite as rough a day as we thought it was going to be today. … It looks as if the significant rainstorms for the Mississippi Gulf Coast have not materialized.”

Rescue teams from Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries and local firefighters rescued more than 700 and nearly 100 pets from homes, cars and campgrounds, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported Sunday.

“We have seen flood events in this state, but never from one tip of the state to the next,” Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser told WDSU-TV in New Orleans.

A power substation flooded, keeping Washington-St. Tammany Electric Cooperative Inc. customers south of Folsom without power, spokeswoman Coylean Schloegel told the station.

The storm dumped so much water into the Ouachita River at Sterlington, about 25 miles north of Monroe that it was running backward, John Stringer, president of the Tensas Basin Levee District, told The News-Star. “There are some strange things happening with this storm that I’ve never seen before,” he said.

Clarksdale Mayor Bill Luckett has declared a state of emergency in his Mississippi Delta town, estimating at least 100 houses have been flooded after the area received more than 10 inches of rain.

Luckett told the Associated Press Saturday that the Big Sunflower River and tributaries are out of their banks and flooding homes, businesses and the city school system central office. Flooding is at its worst on the north side of the town of 18,000 people.

Tempers flared in Jackson, Miss., as some business owners dealt with the flooding, Fox affiliate MS NEWS NOW reported.

The businessmen claim the city won’t fix the sinkholes, drainage and other issues causing the flooding.

“We are pretty much stuck. We are stuck in a city that doesn’t care about us,” Justin Jones told the station.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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