BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY)- Water continues to rise in portions of Vermilion Parish and southwest Iberia Parish as remnants of Hurricane Laura churn in coastal regions of Louisiana.
As of 12:30 p.m. Thursday, the storm was downgraded to a tropical storm as it reached the Ruston area.
More than 600,000 households and businesses were without power as search and rescue efforts were underway.
“Today is about saving lives,” Edwards said during his 1 p.m. press briefing. There have been 4 confirmed deaths so far, which were related to fallen trees in Vernon, Jackson and Acadia parishes.
Interstate 10 in Lake Charles remains closed as crews assess heavy storm damage including a dislodged casino that remained stuck under the Calcasieu River Bridge Thursday afternoon. A major chemical fire in the Westlake/Moss Bluff area also forced nearby residents to shelter in place.
Despite sustaining heavy wind damage, the state was spared from a predicted devastating storm surge, Edwards said.
However, state officials noted rising water after hurricanes Rita and Katrina as cautionary lessons.
“Now is not the time to go sightseeing,” Edwards said, urging Louisiana residents to take caution as crews assess high-water, debris and downed powerlines around the western/central portion of the state.
Shawn Wilson, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, encouraged drivers to check la511.org for storm-related road closures.