Gov. Bobby Jindal  has declared a state of emergency as a result of severe weather and flooding throughout Louisiana.

A series of strong thunderstorms yielded wind gusts topping off at 66 miles per hour as it blanketed south Louisiana with several inches of rain causing flooding and widespread damage. Officials warn of flooding and road closures that are creating dangerous conditions for motorists.

At the time of the release, Jindal's office had received reports of power outages for 237,936 customers across the state.

According to the governor's office, the National Weather Service has issued alerts including severe thunderstorm warnings, tornado watches, tornado warnings, flood warnings and flash flood watches for much of the southern portion of the State.

The KATC weather team is reporting more thunderstorms are expected this evening and through Tuesday morning for much of the Acadiana area.

“We urge our neighbors to heed the warnings and stay prepared,” said Bobbi Zaunbrecher, executive director for the Red Cross in Acadiana and Southwest Louisiana. “With a few extra steps ahead of time, you can help ensure that your household and loved ones know what to do and where to go.”

Even as severe weather still threatens, Red Cross volunteers will continue to assess damages and determine needs on an individual basis and begin offering services.

"When severe weather warnings are issued, people should move to a small windowless interior room or hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building," warned Nancy Malone, public affairs director for the Louisiana Region Red Cross.

The Red Cross offered the following tips to help you weather the storm.

If the power goes out, people should:

  • Use flashlights instead of candles;
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible; and
  • Make sure generators are placed outside the home and away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.

During flood warnings, people should:

  • Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankle, stop, turn around and go another way. If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
  • Keep children and pets out of the water, as they are curious and can be harmed by flowing or contaminated water.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.