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A train is derailed and roads washed away after torrential rain clobbers parts of Mississippi | CNN


Wading through thigh-high waters, dozens of nursing home residents held onto a rope stretched across a flooded parking lot as they were evacuated from a Mississippi retirement home on Wednesday.

The residents, assisted by firefighters, volunteers and state troopers, passed submerged cars as they departed on board school buses from the Peach Tree Village Retirement Community in Brandon, about 13 miles east of Jackson.

The catalyst was a slow-moving weather system that drenched the South with record rainfall, triggering flash floods that stranded residents, washed away roads, derailed a train, crept into homes and forced numerous rescues.

The rainfall prompted the National Weather Service to issue a “flash flood emergency” for nearly 300,000 people in Jackson and nearby communities. Flash flood warnings were in effect for several areas from Jackson to Meridian and southward to Laurel and Prentiss.

Nearly 3 feet of water from a nearby creek rushed into the senior living home, forcing the scramble to get its residents to higher ground, according to Brandon Mayor Butch Lee.

“We can replace the stuff, but the people are out and that is a good thing,” said Jon Bilbro, an administrator at Peachtree Village. Volunteers were seen rushing out of the retirement home, carrying wheelchairs and walkers.

Rankin County Constable Gary Windham told CNN affiliate WAPT he’s “seen water rise in this area before but not like that.”

About 17 miles away, more than 100 children and 15 employees had to be rescued from the Railroad Center Day Care in Florence due to the fast-rising waters, according to the Rankin County Sheriff’s Office.

The children, some carried by local police and day care staff, were evacuated into a school bus and high water rescue vehicles that maneuvered through the flood.

Highway 489 in Newton County is closed until further notice after a section was washed away in the flooding.

The flooding caused widespread street closures and damaged roads throughout the region.

In Newton County, Highway 489 buckled, creating a gaping hole into which a truck appeared to have fallen.

“The highway is completely washed away due to flood water,” Mississippi Highway Patrol tweeted.

The Weather Service had been warning residents not to drive on flooded roadways, saying that even a foot of water could wash away a small vehicle.

“If you cannot see the road, you have no idea if it even exists still under the water. Water can collapse the roadbed, leaving nothing underneath the water,” NWS warned.

As heavy rains pounded the region, the ground gave way under some tracks in Brandon and two pressurized train cars carrying carbon dioxide detached from a train and rolled into a 20-foot ditch, the mayor said.

Brandon officials said the derailment wasn’t a hazard to nearby neighborhoods.

2 train cars carrying carbon dioxide became detached and rolled into the embankment near Brandon, Mississippi.

There also were multiple reports of water rushing into homes and businesses.

“Only thing I got is the stuff I got on now. The rest of my stuff is all messed up,” said Carthage resident S.L. Wilder told WLBT.

“I haven’t seen nothing like this and I’ve been here for 21 years,” another Carthage resident, Abraham Evans, told the station.

The heavy downpours in Mississippi came as Dallas was recovering from flooding and heavy rainfall that swept away vehicles and resulted in dozens of high-water rescues. The excessive rains are expected to linger across the Southeast on Thursday.

The Mississippi region saw rainfall totals of 3-5 inches, with some areas receiving between 7 and 8 inches.

In Jackson, a record 5 inches of rain fell on Wednesday, making it the wettest August day since 4.04” fell during Hurricane Andrew on August 26, 1992.

The system will continue to batter the region Thursday, but won’t be as serious of a threat as it was Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Jackson.

“Widespread heavy rain is not expected, but isolated amounts of 2 to 3 inches could lead to flash flooding,” the NWS stated.

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