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Flash flooding: Toddlers rescued, fish flop in parking lot

A mailbox stands in floodwaters from heavy rains that have plagued the region in recent days on Foxboro Drive in northeast Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022. Torrential rains and flash flooding prompted rescue operations, closures and evacuations in the central part of the state. (Hannah Mattix/The Clarion-Ledger via AP)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Law enforcement officers in central Mississippi carried toddlers out of a flooded day care center after storms dumped rain that caused creeks to overflow, and forecasters said the threat from heavy downpours was spreading Thursday.

The Rankin County Sheriff’s Department posted video on Facebook of deputies walking through brown, knee-deep water Wednesday to take children to an elevated truck, placing them gently on benches. News outlets reported more than 100 children and 14 workers were rescued from the flooded facility in the Jackson suburb of Florence.

The National Weather Service reported a second day of heavy rains and flash flooding was expected Thursday in parts of Louisiana and Mississippi. Weather radar also showed heavy rainfall in Thursday near the Mississippi-Alabama state line.

Tony Banks said Thursday that when he returned to his apartment in the Jackson suburb of Flowood after work Wednesday, the parking lot was knee-deep in water. He said a creek overflowed, flooding some cars and trucks. Banks said he caught a fish near the vehicles.

“He was flopping around in the parking lot and I grabbed his mouth,” said Banks, 35. He said he tossed the bass back into the water.

After the deluge Wednesday, Rankin County sheriff’s deputies helped move more than 40 residents out of a flooded nursing home in Brandon.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol said flowing water washed away parts of a state highway in rural Newton County, between Jackson and Meridian.

In Alabama, vehicles traveling along flooded roads created boat-like wakes on low-lying Dauphin Island, a popular beach community off the coast, but police said the water wasn’t deep enough Thursday morning to pose a major threat. Flooding was likely across southwestern Alabama through nightfall, forecasters said, and Mississippi closed a welcome station on Interstate 10 because of flooding.

A few schools around Mobile, Alabama, dismissed early because of flooding or power outages. The National Weather Service said rain was falling at a rate of as much as 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) an hour along the coast, and roads and parking lots were flooded in Foley on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay.

Three Mississippi cities set one-day rainfall records Wednesday, the weather service said. Jackson received just over 5 inches (12.7 centimeters), Meridian received 4.6 inches (11.7 centimeters) and Vicksburg received 2.9 inches (7.4 centimeters).

On Wednesday, Jackson also surpassed its previous record for rainfall for the month of August, at 11.57 inches (29.4 centimeters). The previous record for the month was 11.51 inches (29.2 centimeters) in 2008, the weather service said.

The National Weather Service said flooding was expected near several rivers in central and southern Mississippi. The Pearl River was above flood stage in the Jackson area on Thursday and was expected to continue rising. That means streams and creeks are unable to drain into the river, and water could threaten homes and businesses in low-lying areas. The service predicted the Pearl River will crest early next week at nearly the level it reached during flooding in 2020.