NEW ORLEANS (AP) — St. Mary and St. Helena parish schools are closed and governments in several parishes are providing sandbags as a strong upper-level storm system moving northeast from Mexico pushes moist air into the lower Mississippi Valley.

There's a flash flood watch across most of Louisiana.

Officials say St. Mary and St. Helena Parish schools will remain closed Thursday.

The National Weather Service says that, starting Tuesday, 2 to 6 inches of rain have fallen from southwest Louisiana up into the Baton Rouge area. Franklin got 5.6 inches and Gonzales 6 inches.

Heavy rain was expected to continue into Thursday, with 3 to 4 inches possible in some locations. It was forecast to move north and east into the central Mississippi Valley on Thursday and into the Ohio Valley by Friday evening.

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