Loud thunderstorms pushed through the area Wednesday morning, soaking recently dry ground enough to create the potential for flooding Wednesday and Thursday as the rains continue into the weekend, forecasters warned.

The National Weather Service declared a flash flood watch in effect until 7 p.m. Thursday for all of south Louisiana.

“It takes in all of southern Louisiana from Lake Charles through New Orleans,” said meteorologist Tim Destri of the National Weather Service office in Slidell.

Destri said residents can expect showers and thunderstorms to continue reforming, dumping 2 to 4 inches or even 3 to 5 inches, often where rain has already occurred.

“The heaviest will probably be today but there is still a threat tomorrow,” he said.

Lafayette schools were closing early, because of flooding issues and the Scott Police and Fire Departments reported having to work several weather related crashed and three water rescues.

In addition to the threat of flooding, the storms have the potential to cause trouble with lightening, heavy winds, including maybe brief tornadoes, and possible hail, he said.

“We are definitely seeing enough lightning to cause some problems,” Destri said.

Entergy and Demco were reporting scattered outages across the state.

Rain also could pose a challenge for this weekend’s college baseball tournament games in Baton Rouge and Lafayette.

“The rain won’t be continuous all the way through Friday and Saturday, but the chance of rain remains high,” he said.