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Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks during a press conference with La. Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn Wilson, left, to celebrate the Fastlane Grant, which will partially fund an I-10 widening project between Lafayette and Henderson, Wednesday, August 3, 2016, at the Stirling Lafayette Shopping Center on Louisiana Avenue in Lafayette, La.

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK

Gov. John Bel Edwards is returning to Louisiana this afternoon as the state continues to be battered by heavy rain and flooding.

Edwards had traveled to Aspen, Colorado on Thursday to attend a Democratic Governors Convention summit. He was initially scheduled to return to Baton Rouge on Sunday, but his staff confirmed that he is now due back Friday afternoon.

Earlier Friday, Edwards issued a state of emergency for the entire state of Louisiana because of severe weather conditions. The declaration will be in effect through Sept. 10.

“We are in constant contact with local officials and first responders, and assistance is already on the move to affected parishes,” Edwards said in a statement. “The most important thing to remember is to obey road signs and to constantly monitor the news for updates to ensure everyone’s safety. Every available resource will be used to assist citizens as this situation continues to unfold."

The declaration authorizes state agencies and the director of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness to respond as needed to emergency conditions.

A flash flood watch is in effect for all of southeastern Louisiana until at least Saturday morning, with seven to 10 inches of rainfall expected or possibly more.

Edwards' order notes that the state anticipates assistance will be needed for parishes to respond.

Read the declaration here.

Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp.