Hurricane Delta tore through southern Louisiana late Friday evening, leaving hundreds of thousands without power in a state still reeling from the last powerful windstorm that hit the region just six weeks ago.
Delta made landfall as a Category 2 hurricane near the coastal town of Creole at roughly 7 p.m. ET on Friday, sweeping in with top winds of 100 mph (155 kph), according to the National Hurricane Centre. It quickly weakened over land into a tropical depression by Saturday morning and is expected to move across western and northern Mississippi and into Tennessee, bringing heavy rain, flash floods, and storm surges, forecasters warned.
No deaths have been reported as of Saturday evening, but officials warned locals to exercise caution. Delta, while a weaker storm than the Category 4 Hurricane Laura that struck in August, is flooding the area significantly more than Laura did, Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter said per the Associated Press. Delta dumped more than 15 inches of rain on the city over the weekend, battering hundreds of already storm-weary homes with water.
The hurricane added insult to injury for Lake Charles, one of the first cities hit after it made landfall, as it was still struggling to recover from the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Laura, which damaged nearly every building in the area, leveled entire neighbourhoods with a 3.05 m storm surge, took over two dozen lives statewide.
“Add Laura and Delta together and it’s just absolutely unprecedented and catastrophic,” Hunter said. “We are very concerned that with everything going in the country right now that this incident may not be on the radar nationally like it should be.”
Delta marks the 10th named storm to hit the mainland U.S. this year, breaking the previous record of nine storms in 1916, according to Phil Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University.
As of Saturday afternoon, more than 600,000 homes and businesses in the state remain without power, the Weather Channel reports. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said in a press conference Saturday that 3,000 Louisiana National Guard troops have been mobilized to help with clearing roads and other emergency relief efforts and 10,000 utility workers are working to restore power.