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Southern Flooding Bring Caskets to Surface in Louisiana

The relentless rain soaking much of the south has raised the dead in Louisiana.Caskets were spotted floating in flooded Calcasieu Parish
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The relentless rain that soaked much of the South has created a spooky scene in Louisiana.

Caskets unearthed from low-lying cemeteries by more than a week of rain were spotted Tuesday floating in flooded Calcasieu Parish, on the Texas border.

But as workers from the parish coroner's office went out by boat to wrangle the coffins, they did so under partly cloudy skies — a welcome change after more than a week of rain and violent thunderstorms across the region that killed six people and forced thousands more to flee their homes.

"Do not go to the cemeteries," Zeb Johnson of the parish coroner's office warned. "These vaults weigh 1,600 to 1,800 pounds; caskets are full of water. And if they are full of water, we know how to handle that and take care of it."

Louisiana officials were forced to retrieve hundreds of floating coffins after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Across the border in Texas, the town of Deweyville remained cut off by record rainfall that swelled the Sabine River to historic levels, The Weather Channel reported.

The state Transportation Department closed Interstate 10 near the state line with Louisiana because of flooding, and many residents were getting around by boat.

Fortunately, no rain is in the forecast for the next few days for the most drenched areas, although flood and high wind warnings remain in effect for the section of the South where Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas meet, the National Weather Service reported.

Meanwhile, parts of the Midwest were getting a last blast of winter.

A winter storm watch was in effect Tuesday for Kansas, western Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle and parts of Colorado and New Mexico.

The NWS issued winter storm watches for Wednesday in parts of northern Minnesota, including Duluth, and far northwest Wisconsin. Six inches of snow are in the forecast, with some accumulation hitting the Twin Cities by Thursday.

The system will continue to track east this week, where it could combine with a mass of warm air to produce at least some snow from Washington, D.C., through New York City all the way up to Bangor, Maine, by early next week, said Kait Parker, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel, who called the system "winter's last stand."

"You thought that winter was dead and gone, but you were wrong," she said.