Louisiana and Texas brace for Hurricane Delta as storm hits coasts


Delta’s center is about 130 miles south of Louisiana. It remains a Category 3 major hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph.

The storm is “expected to bring hurricane conditions and a life-threatening storm surge to portions of the northern Gulf Coast later today,” the National Hurricane Center said.

About 5 million people are under flash flood watches from Louisiana through southwest Tennessee. Rainfall could exceed flash flood levels across most of Louisiana, the National Weather Service says. Rain totals could reach 6 to 10 inches or more in the storm’s direct path, forecasters say.

Conditions will deteriorate ahead of landfall Friday evening along the southwestern Louisiana coast. Delta will hit just east of Lake Charles in communities battered by Hurricane Laura only weeks ago, CNN meteorologist Rob Shackelford said.

“We believe that there will be hurricane force winds and storm surge in southwest Louisiana in the area of our state that is least prepared to take it,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Thursday, urging residents to create a game plan to face the storm.

The National Hurricane Center warned of a “dangerous” storm surge that’s expected near the hurricane’s landfall and parts of Louisiana’s coastline could see up to 11 feet of water. That will be coupled with high winds and rainfall that’s likely to lead to “significant flash flooding” Friday and Saturday in parts of the state, the center said.
“While we have every intention of getting to you as quickly as possible should you need rescuing or any other assistance, you should plan as if the first 72 hours is on you,” Edwards said.

Mandatory evacuation orders are in place in communities including Cameron Parish and Calcasieu Parish, home to Lake Charles. West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital in Sulphur began evacuating patients Thursday “out of an abundance of caution” to medical centers around Baton Rouge and New Orleans, with only a core team staying on site, according to a news release.

A hurricane warning is in effect for High Island, Texas, to Morgan City, Louisiana, and a storm surge warning is in place from High Island to the coastal Louisiana-Mississippi border, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Bang Bui prepares his business Handy Mart as Hurricane Delta approaches in Abbeville, Louisiana, on Thursday.

‘I’m packing up to leave again’

In the Louisiana storm zone, residents are still recovering from Laura, Cameron Parish Sheriff Ron Johnson said Friday morning. Debris in roadways and power outages from the storm several weeks ago are the biggest concerns, Johnson said during a phone interview with CNN affiliate KPLC.

Some residents are sticking around, but the parish has a “pretty good evacuation rate” and is geared up to assist people sheltering in place, he said. Deputies were still patrolling the roads but would be pulled when winds reach 50 to 60 mph.

In a last call to get residents evacuated, Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter said Thursday afternoon that city employees would move “heaven and earth” to help anyone who wanted to leave the city ahead of the storm.

“We are getting to a moment in time eventually, where it will not be safe any more to get out on the roads,” Hunter said in a video message posted on Facebook. “Think about you and your family. And it is our strong request that you heed the advice and evacuate. “
Traffic is jammed on I-10 westbound amid evacuations ahead of Hurricane Delta on Thursday in Lake Charles, Louisiana
In Cameron, Louisiana, Leona Boullion told CNN affiliate KPRC her home was spared by Laura, but she wasn’t sure if she’d be as lucky this time around.

“I’m packing up to leave again,” Boullion told the affiliate. “I’m just hoping that I have something to come back to.”

Local leaders also warned of the possibility of tornadoes, which could come through Friday over parts of Louisiana and Mississippi, according to the hurricane center.

A tropical storm warning was in effect in parts of Texas and Louisiana, including New Orleans, where Mayor LaToya Cantrell said she was “very much concerned about” the possibility of tornadoes.

“We are not in the cone, but again, we do anticipate feeling strong impacts related to Hurricane Delta,” she said, according to CNN affiliate WDSU. “Tropical storm force winds, this is also a big concern, rainfall and possible flash flooding is what we are expecting.”

Mississippi National Guard resources on ready

In Texas, public safety officials urged residents across the coast to prepare for severe weather including strong winds and localized flooding. The state this week had prepared resources so it could be ready to respond, the governor said.

“Texans in the path of this storm should continue to heed the guidance and direction of local officials, remain cautious, and remember – Turn Around, Don’t Drown,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a news release.

Hurricane Delta is about to hit nearly the same spot as Laura in Louisiana, just 6 weeks later

Meanwhile, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said Thursday the state has sent out resources to help communities and will deploy National Guard resources as well if needed.

Officials there also warned of the possibility of tornadoes in the state, as well as heavy rain.

“We anticipate the storm, or at least what’s left of the eye of it will only spend about 30 hours in Mississippi,” Reeves said. “During that time, we do expect significant rainfall, up to four to six inches in the southwestern counties, and maybe in some of the western Delta counties that are on the Mississippi River.”

Abbott this week declared a state of emergency “in anticipation of damage” and urged residents to “prep for the worst.”

CNN’s Maggie Fox and Hira Humayun contributed to this report.





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