A Louisiana National Guardsman wades through water as residents are evacuated by boat through rising floodwaters in Bossier Parish, La., March 10, 2016. 
Photo by Gerald Herbert/AP

Gulf Coast braces for torrential rains, ‘life-threatening’ floods

Torrential rains and flash floods were expected to lash the Gulf Coast again on Friday amid a rash of severe weather that has killed at least five people across the South.

Flash-flood watches were in effect for much of Louisiana and parts of southern Arkansas and Texas, with up to 5 inches of rain expected across the region, the National Weather Service said.

“This will result in additional significant and possibly life-threatening flooding,” it warned. “Flooding of rivers and lakes will be an ongoing threat for the next several days and likely into next week.”

The severe weather battering the South already has forced thousands of people to flee their homes.

In Louisiana, local deputies and National Guard personnel made a number of dramatic rescues and helped evacuate flood-stricken residents.

More than 3,500 people have been evacuated so far and at least three people in the state have died, the governor’s spokeswoman Shauna Sanford told NBC News.

Up to 50 homes in Hammond, Louisiana, were flooded after the area received more than 10 inches of rain overnight, the NWS said. The deluge also washed away a highway bridge near New Orleans.

Statewide, at least 5,000 customers were without power as of 8 a.m. (9 a.m. ET), according to power firm Entergy.

So much rain has fallen along the Texas-Louisiana border that officials warned that the Sabine River could rise to a level not seen since 1884, The Weather Channel reported.

In Mississippi, Governor Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency in order to assist areas affected by the flooding.

Separately, heavy rain was forecast in parts of California — part of dangerous and deadly El Niño-fueled storms that caused localized flooding in areas left dry by the historic drought.

While the rain isn’t expected to dangerous, forecasters are hopeful it could signal a turnaround from a dry February that was only exacerbated by the warmer, summer-like conditions.

This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com.

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Gulf Coast braces for torrential rains, 'life-threatening' floods