BATON ROUGE, La. — At least six people have died in the floods in southern Louisiana, a state official said Monday.
Devin George, the state registrar for vital records, said that the storm-related deaths include two people in East Baton Rouge Parish, two in St. Helena Parish and two in Tangipahoa Parish.
More than 2 feet of rain have fallen since Wednesday in Livingston, near Baton Rouge, making the disaster an extremely rare weather event, according to the National Weather Service. The statistical chance of such flooding occurring in any given year is 1%, the weather service said
State officials say 20,000 people have been rescued from their homes and more than 10,000 people are in shelters.
The federal government has declared a major disaster in four Louisiana parishes following widespread flooding.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said President Barack Obama called him and said the people of southern Louisiana are in his thoughts and prayers and that the federal government will be a solid partner.
So far, Edwards has deployed the Louisiana National Guard, which mobilized 1,700 soldiers to assist in search and rescue efforts. Military police are assisting local law enforcement with security.
The U.S. Coast Guard said it had rescued more than 118 people and assisted more than 766 in Baton Rouge on Sunday. Private citizens also helped out.
The Baton Rouge area remains under a flood watch until 4 p.m. Monday, but weather forecasters said it likely will be extended.
The Associated Press and CNN contributed to this report.