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Louisiana residents are warned to stay off the roads after flash flooding submerges cars 

Louisiana residents living near Lake Charles have been warned to stay at home after flash flooding swept away cars and inundated businesses.

Seventeen inches of rain fell on the region overnight on Sunday and into Monday morning, sparking severe weather warnings in Louisiana and Texas. 

John Bel Edwards, the governor of Louisiana, described the flooding as 'potentially life-threatening'. 

Public schools were closed in Beauregard Parish, and city transit in Lake Charles suspended. 

The sheriff of Calcasieu Parish, an area home to 192,000 people, warned locals to stay off the roads as all areas of the parish are experiencing flooding. 

Cars and trucks struggle through the floodwater near Lake Charles on Monday

Seventeen inches of rain have fallen over the area, landing on communities battered by storms

The sheriffs in Calcasieu Parish were asking people to stay at home and not drive their cars

'Roadways and conditions are deteriorating and changing quickly,' said Tony Mancuso, sheriff of Calcasieu Parish.

'CPSO has deployed high water vehicles and boats on both sides of the parish and are we prepared to handle any flood related call we receive. 

'We are urging all residents to be vigilant and keep an eye on the evolving weather situation. 

'We are also urging residents to stay put and DO NOT travel on the roadways; driving on the roadways at this time is putting yourself in danger, along with causing damage to other residents' property from the rising water.' 

Photos shared on social media showed widespread damage.

In one Lake Charles diner, KD's, water was flowing through the restaurant as people sat down to eat.

Flood water washes around the feet of people eating at KD's Diner in Lake Charles

Floodwater surged into KD's Diner in Lake Charles on Monday, as customers were eating

The region has long been hampered by poor quality infrastructure, leaving them vulnerable to natural disasters. 

Lake Charles is still trying to recover from major damage caused by hurricanes Laura and Delta last year and an ice storm in February. 

Joe Biden traveled to Lake Charles on May 6 to drum up support for his multi-trillion infrastructure package, saying it was shameful that people living in the United States had to endure such creaking, outdated facilities. 

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