Flood fears intensify as storms hit central, southern US

Heavy rain and intense flooding have ravaged parts of central and southern states for the past week, leaving at least three people dead, and the risk of flooding continues into this week.

Flash flood warnings were issued for Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas through Thursday, according to the National Weather Service, and the governors of Indiana, Missouri and Ohio issued states of emergency due to the possibility of further flooding.

A long-term forecast for the Ohio River Valley shows possible heavy rain Wednesday night into Thursday. Much of the heavy rain will stay south of Kentucky, across Tennessee and northern regions of Gulf Coast states, according to the National Weather Service, which also predicts around one-half to three-quarters of an inch of rain falling across southern Indiana and northern Kentucky. South-central Kentucky could see 1 to 1.5 inches of rain.

Last week’s heavy rains have kept much of the central, southern and Great Lakes region river systems in flood stage, the weather service said. More rain is expected across the lower and mid-Mississippi and Tennessee River valleys Tuesday and Wednesday, which will worsen the ongoing flood threat.

The flooding is blamed for the deaths of three people in Michigan and Kentucky.

The body of a 1-year-old girl was found in standing water Feb. 21 in Sheridan, Michigan. Police said the water was due to rain and melting snow runoff.

Two people died in Kentucky and Michigan February 25.

A person was found in a submerged vehicle in a ditch, Union County, Kentucky, authorities said, and a man was found dead in floodwaters in Kalamazoo, Michigan, according to the city’s Department of Public Safety. The man’s car was found nearby submerged in water.

In Louisville, Kentucky, Metropolitan Sewer District Manager Wes Sydnor said 21 billion gallons of water has been pumped and the department received more than 1,500 calls to customer relations over the weekend. The department usually receives 100 calls a day.