Drenching rains led to dangerous flash flooding across parts of the south-central United States during the middle of the week.
The highest rainfall totals were reported in northwestern Louisiana where states of emergencies were declared in 16 parishes. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards later expanded the state of emergency to the entire state. Emergency officials responded to numerous water rescues while also directing residents to evacuate when necessary. Over 1,000 homes have been evacuated.
The Associated Press reported that five people died as a result of drowning this week, including three in Louisiana. Two additional deaths were reported in Texas and Oklahoma.
The flooding caused many state and local roadways to become impassable, with some chunks of roads washing away in Bossier Parish. The Louisiana National Guard was called in to help with evacuations and search and rescue operations. State offices were closed in 40 parishes due to the worsening conditions as flash flood emergencies remained in effect during late week.
Over 11 inches of rainfall was reported in Shreveport, Louisiana, between Tuesday and Thursday. A normal rainfall total for the entire month of March for the city is 4.14 inches. Just north of Monroe, Louisiana, a 96-hour rainfall total of nearly 21 inches was measured as of 1 p.m. CST Thursday.
"The combination of a slow-moving storm system and a plethora of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico has allowed heavy rain to stream into the South Central states," AccuWeather Meteorologist Krissy Pydynowski said.
Several tornadoes left behind damage in parts of Texas this week.
One EF1 tornado was reported near Cool, Texas, about 75 miles west of Dallas. A damage path of nearly 2 miles was reported, and several homes were damaged along Highway 180. Another EF1 tornado was reported near the town of Stephenville, nearly two hours southwest of Dallas. The tornado damaged several businesses and caused heavy damage to an apartment complex.
Springlike warmth permeated throughout much of the East on Wednesday as more than 50 locations broke or tied record highs. Newark and Trenton, New Jersey; Albany, New York; Hartford, Connecticut; and Allentown, Pennsylvania; each set a record for earliest 80-degree Fahrenheit reading in a calendar year.
Storms driven by the El Niño pattern pushed through California last weekend, bringing welcome rain following a dry February. Parts of the Sierra Nevada mountain range received up to 5 feet of snow.
El Niño occurs when tropical Pacific waters are warmer than normal, and the pattern can last several months to a couple of years. The warm waters can impact the weather patterns around much of the globe.
Well look at that! Up to 5 feet of snow fell along the Sierra Crest from March 5-7. #cawx pic.twitter.com/Bx3agTJn6B— NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) March 7, 2016
Gusty storms pounded the Middle East, unleashing significant flooding and travel problems across the United Arab Emirates and Oman. The storms forced the cancellation or early dismissal of schools across both nations. Flights out of Abu Dhabi International Airport were suspended for a time.
The Royal Oman Police reported at least 40 distress calls from due to flooded roadways. One person was killed as the result of a lightning strike.
Several AccuWeather meteorologists and staff writers contributed content to this article.