- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 16, 2016

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) - The Latest on flooding and damage caused by severe weather (all times local):

5:40 p.m.

Gov. John Bel Edwards is asking that President Barack Obama amend the federal disaster declaration for the State of Louisiana to include three additional parishes: Allen, Ascension, and Calcasieu.

Edwards said Wednesday that flood waters have damaged more than 900 homes in all three parishes. The governor says as a result of the high water, debris also has amassed on streets, highways, and waterways causing a threat to the health and safety of the citizens living in all three parishes.

Previously approved parishes are: Bossier, Claiborne, Grant, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, Webster, Beauregard, Bienville, Caddo, Caldwell, DeSoto, LaSalle, Livingston, Madison, Natchitoches, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Union, Vernon, Washington, West Carroll, and Winn.


4 p.m.

The federal Farm Service Agency says Louisiana farmers and ranchers hurt by recent rains and floods may be eligible for a number of federal benefits.

State executive director Craig McCain said in a news release Wedneday that the weather did extensive damage, and many farmers and ranchers were unable to plant or lost recently planted crops. He says others lost or had to move livestock, and suffered property damage.

He says such losses are covered by seven programs, including non-insured crop disaster assistance, livestock indemnity, assistance for orchard owners and nursery tree growers. Another offers help for damages to livestock and feed, honeybees and farm-raised fish. Emergency loans are available to farmers and ranches in federal disaster areas.

The Farm Service Agency is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information on available aid visit: www.fsa.usda.gov/


3:15 p.m.

The severe weather that has left many parts of Louisiana flooded also caused coastal erosion.

Tim Osborn, a coastal scientist and navigation manager with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says the strong system pushed high waves onto the coast for about four days, worsening erosion on Louisiana’s fragile coast.

On Wednesday, Jefferson Parish officials asked the federal government for help fixing a dune-like levee built on Grand Isle to fend off the Gulf of Mexico.

Wayne Keller, the executive director of the Grand Isle Port Commission, says the erosion was significant. He says the structure needs to be repaired quickly in advance of hurricane season.

Osborn says storms during the winter and spring pound the coast and often cause more erosion than storms during hurricane season.

Officials with the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority were unable Wednesday to provide comment on damage caused by the storm along the state’s coast.


12:35 p.m.

Louisiana State Police say Interstate 10 is closed in both directions at the Texas state line.

Sgt. Gary Smith with Troop D in Lake Charles says rising water from the Sabine River is covering the interstate Wednesday morning on the Texas side. Troopers say drivers should use Interstate 20 to travel between the two states or U.S. 190, another alternate route.

National Weather Service meteorologist Stephen Carboni in Lake Charles says the Sabine will crest at 7.7 feet at the Orange, Texas, gauge Tuesday evening. Flood stage is 4 feet.

Carboni says it may take several days for the flood waters to recede.

State police say they’re monitoring I-10 at the Mississippi state line. Flood waters from the Pearl River are threatening to close the highway on the Louisiana side.

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