Much of the Baton Rouge area closed up shop ahead of a predicted onslaught of rain on Friday, with many schools and government offices across the region pre-emptively announcing closures in anticipation of street flooding and other problems.
The heavy rain heading toward south Louisiana swamped the northern part of the state over Wednesday and Thursday, with the severe weather covering roads and causing to people flee their homes.
Sixteen Louisiana parishes have declared a state of emergency, and the National Guard was sent in to help.
In Baton Rouge, a particularly robust band of rain Thursday prompted the National Weather Service to post an urban and small stream flood advisory in the afternoon.
Another six to 10 inches of rain could be on the way through Saturday, with some areas receiving even more. By Saturday, the heaviest rainfall should be east of Interstate 55 and Houma, and the skies should start clearing by late Saturday night, according to the National Weather Service.
Public schools in Livingston, Ascension, Tangipahoa, East Feliciana and St. Helena parishes announced Friday closures.
All traditional public schools in East Baton Rouge Parish that were scheduled to be open Friday will remain open. That includes schools in the Baker, Central and Zachary school districts. East Baton Rouge Parish public school employees are reporting to work for professional development, but children will have day off. Catholic schools in the Diocese of Baton Rouge follow the lead of the public schools, meaning the ones with East Baton Rouge Parish will all remain open, but ones in parishes such as Ascension and Tangipahoa where schools are closing will close along with the public schools.
Local and state government offices in East Baton Rouge, Ascension and Livingston parishes will be closed on Friday. Other parishes with state offices that will remain closed Friday include East Feliciana, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. James, Tangipahoa, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana.
LSU officials announced late Thursday that the university will remain open on Friday. All classes will be held as scheduled, and all university offices will operate on normal business hours. Any scheduled activities and events will be held as planned, and all university services, including Tiger Trails and Dining Halls, will be open.
Southern University campuses in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Shreveport will be closed Friday and Saturday.
The University Laboratory School and the LSU Child Care Center will also be open Friday, operating under normal hours.
In Louisiana, officials late Wednesday said a 63-year-old man died when a car was swept off a flooded road. Mike Steele, a spokesman for the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said a 22-year-old man and a 6-year-old girl in Ouachita Parish have also been confirmed dead.