Catastrophic flooding has swallowed swaths of Louisiana in a deluge that the governor calls “unprecedented.” But the breadth of the destruction can be hard to imagine.
Here’s what the calamity looks like, by the numbers:
40,000: Homes damaged
More than 40,000 homes have at least some kind of damage from the flooding, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Tuesday. He asked for volunteers to help clean out mud from homes.
“Not everyone can do this on their own,” the governor said. He said anyone interested in helping can visit VolunteerLouisiana.gov.
The entire state of Louisiana has just 4.6 million people — less than the population of metro Atlanta.
6,900,000,000,000: Gallons of rainfall in one week
About 6.9 trillion gallons of rain pummeled Louisiana between August 8 and 14, according to meteorologist Ryan Maue.
That’s enough to fill more than 10.4 million Olympic-size swimming pools.
11: Deaths across the state
Louisiana has recorded 11 deaths, according to the governor’s office. Officials have reported five in East Baton Rouge Parish, three in Tangipahoa Parish, two in St. Helena Parish and one in Rapides Parish.
20,000: People rescued
Members of the Coast Guard and National Guard, along with emergency responders and regular civilians, helped take more than 20,000 residents to safety, officials said.
Gov. Edwards said 1,000 pets have also been rescued.
500 years: Expected frequency of a flood of this magnitude
The likelihood of a flood this catastrophic in the Baton Rouge area is about once every 500 years.
Since last August, five other floods across the country have been considered “500-year floods,” according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
14.9 feet: Level of Amite River on Wednesday
For three consecutive days, the Amite River at Port Vincent broke the previous record level of 14.6 feet. After cresting at 17.45 feet early Monday, the river stood at 14.9 feet Wednesday.
12: Parishes declared as disaster areas
President Barack Obama has granted Edwards’ request for an emergency declaration in 12 parishes, the governor said Tuesday.
Edwards said he expects that number to rise, as he has requested emergency declarations in more than a dozen other parishes as well.