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Flooding woes to persist from New Orleans to Houston this weekend

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Intense downpours will continue to cause flooding problems along the central and western Gulf Coast into Sunday night.

The persistent downpours threaten to worsen the ongoing flooding situation in Louisiana, while creating additional flooding problems elsewhere.

"An area of low pressure in the upper levels of the atmosphere is meandering along the Gulf Coast and will continue to pull moisture straight out of the Gulf of Mexico this weekend," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio.

Downpours and the threat for flooding are expected to continue across Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Lake Charles, Louisiana, while expanding into Houston, San Antonio and Austin, Texas, as the system retrogrades westward, he added.

The rate at which the rain will fall can turn a seemingly typical summertime downpour into a dangerous situation in a matter of minutes.

In addition, the slow-moving and repetitive nature of the downpours could lead to major flooding in some communities.

"Four to 8 inches of rain will certainly be possible in some communities," Rossio explained. Even higher amounts are likely in areas that sit under heavy downpours for hours.

Those who live in flood-prone areas should be on alert for rising water levels and be prepared to evacuate if necessary.

Streams and rivers can quickly overflow their banks and flood neighboring roads and lands.

Travelers should be extra cautious in the heavy downpours, which can drastically reduce visibility, heighten the risk for hydroplaning and quickly cause street flooding. Never attempt to drive through a flooded roadway.

The flood threat will not only be confined to the Gulf Coast states, as tropical moisture will get pulled northward and could lead to flash flooding from the mid-Mississippi Valley to the Northeast.

The continued downpours will slow cleanup efforts and the recession of water in areas already affected by flooding.

On Friday, flooding forced numerous evacuations, water rescues and school and road closures in Louisiana. Near Baton Rouge, around a foot and a half of rain fell in 15 hours.

Portions of the Amite and Comite rivers in Louisiana reached the highest levels ever recorded on Friday night, according to the National Weather Service office in New Orleans. Any additional rainfall will threaten to send more rivers into major flood stage.

While the heaviest moisture will get pulled out of the region early next week, pop-up heavy thunderstorms could still cause flooding across Louisiana and Texas into Tuesday.