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Emergency workers rescue more than 7,000 from floods in southern US

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Emergency workers in Louisiana have rescued more than 7,000 residents stranded in homes and cars during a historic flood, governor John Bel Edwards said Sunday.

[WASHINGTON] Emergency workers in Louisiana have rescued more than 7,000 residents stranded in homes and cars during a historic flood, governor John Bel Edwards said Sunday.

Rescue crews worked through the night and into the day as deadly flooding that officials say has left at least three people dead and one missing continued to submerge large parts of the region on Sunday, three days after water-swelled streams and rivers began rising.

"This is a serious event," Mr Edwards said of the record floods he called "historic" on Saturday.

"This is ongoing," he added.

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"This is not over," even with the rains lessening as they move west and the sun appearing in some flooded areas.

Local, state and national agencies have been working together to rescue residents.

Among them, thousands were evacuated in Livingston Parish, near the capital Baton Rouge, the sheriff's department told local media, with 100 people still waiting for help on Sunday.

The Louisiana National Guard said in a statement that it had rescued nearly 500 people and 61 pets, including 15 rescues by air.

The Coast Guard said its helicopters rescued more than 50 people from rooftops, vehicles and trailers on Saturday.

In one dramatic rescue in Baton Rouge captured on video, rescuers on a boat on Saturday pulled a woman from a car that had just slipped under water.

The woman, not visible in the video broadcast on Sunday by local television station WAFB, shouts, "Oh my God, I'm drowning!"

A rescuer jumps into the murky brown water and pulls her out by the arm. When she tries to dive under for her dog, he goes underwater and reappears holding the dog.

Most of the flooding has been around the capital Baton Rouge.

Governor Edwards said he and his family were forced to leave the governor's mansion after water filled the basement, shutting off electricity.

The National Weather Service on Sunday issued flash flood warnings extending from the Texas coast to the Ohio River Valley.

"Showers and thunderstorms will develop along and near the front from the Northeast to the Ohio Valley to the Southern Plains/Lower Mississippi Valley through Tuesday," it said in a statement.

The heavy rains began Friday, with between six and 10 inches (15 to 25 centimeters) of rain falling on parts of southeast Louisiana, and several more inches on Saturday, the National Weather Service said.

Forecasters predict the storm will turn north on Sunday, saying parts of central and northern Louisiana and southern Texas may see heavy rain for several days.

AFP

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