USA TODAY, Doyle Rice, talks about the dangers of cars flooded or submerged by natural disasters and explains how to make sure you do not buy one.

New Orleans is preparing for a hurricane. The flood has already hit.

On the same day that a report from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration warned Americans against a more "floodable" future, some streets in Louisiana's largest city, including the famous French Quarter, looked more like to rivers.

Thunderstorms associated with a weather system that is expected to turn into hurricane Friday hit New Orleans with nearly 7 inches of rain over a three-hour period Wednesday morning, forecasters said.

The city was submerged with water, leaving residents facing swampy streets, spilled garbage cans and flooded vehicles. Some even kayaked on the street.

Chandris Rethmeyer said that she had lost her car due to flooding and that she had had to cross a deep water table about 4 feet to get in safety.

Rethmeyer said she was returning home after working for one night, while she found herself stuck behind a car accident in an underpass and that water was starting to come up.

"I was going to sit in my car and let the storm pass," she said. "But I reached out to pick up my son's iPad and put my hand in a puddle."

And Valerie R. Burton woke up Wednesday in front of what looked like a lake in front of her door.

"There was about 3 to 4 feet of water in the street, spilling on the sidewalks and at my door," Burton said. "So, I went to my neighbors to alert them and tell them to move their cars."

The tides evoked the sudden floods that had surprised the city in August 2017. This flood not only required major repairs, but also highlighted significant problems within the supervising agency. street drainage and resulted in staff changes to the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board.

Forecasters said Louisiana could receive up to 12 inches of rain by Monday, with some isolated areas receiving up to 18 inches.

The heavy rain could push the swollen Mississippi River dangerously close to the top of the city's dikes, officials said.

A spokesman for the Army Corps in New Orleans said the agency was not expecting a general overflow of dikes, but that concerns exist regarding areas south of the city.

It was expected that the river would reach 20 feet by Friday night at a key gauge in New Orleans. The area is protected by dikes 20 to 25 feet in height, he said.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said the state of emergency: "The entire coast of Louisiana is at stake in this storm," Edwards said.

Contribute: The Associated Press.

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