Nearly 7 trillion gallons of water have thrashed Louisiana over the past week. Since the torrential rainfall and flooding started August 8, more than 40,000 homes have been damaged. Governor John Bel Edwards asked volunteers to help clear the debris and shovel mud from homes, saying on Tuesday, “Not everyone can do this on their own.”
CNN crunched the numbers to illustrate the severity of the damage caused by this 500-year flood and estimated that the sheer volume of water is enough to fill more than 10.4 million Olympic-sized swimming pools. The community of Watson was hit the hardest with about 31 inches of rain falling in the early hours of the morning.
So far, according to the governor’s office, 11 people have died as a result of the flooding. On the bright side, 20,000 residents and 1,000 pets have been rescued thanks to the combined efforts of the Coast Guard, National Guard, EMTs, and brave bystanders.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a flood this destructive customarily only comes around about once every 500 years. As rare as this natural occurrence may seem, five other 500-year floods have happened across the country since last August. In Louisiana’s case, 12 parishes have been categorized as disaster areas by the Obama administration, with 12 more requesting the designation and emergency assistance.
For those beginning the cleanup process, an image has been circulating on Instagram that offers helpful advice for homeowners.