Delta's intensity slips near land, still a big and powerful storm

By Stephanie Kelly LAKE CHARLES, La. (Reuters) - The streets in this southwest Louisiana city were deserted on Friday as residents fled ahead of Hurricane Delta, filling hotels or taking shelter away from the storm's path.

Reuters October 10, 2020 04:10:20 IST
Delta's intensity slips near land, still a big and powerful storm

Deltas intensity slips near land still a big and powerful storm

By Stephanie Kelly

LAKE CHARLES, La. (Reuters) - The streets in this southwest Louisiana city were deserted on Friday as residents fled ahead of Hurricane Delta, filling hotels or taking shelter away from the storm's path.

Delta's winds weakened to 105 miles per hour (165 kph) and could decrease further ahead of a projected landfall on Friday, the National Hurricane Center said. It will hit a corner of the state repeatedly battered by storms this year.

"In this community, there are a lot of homes that were damaged and so a lot of people are concerned about staying in that structure again," Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter said in an interview.

Hurricane Laura, which struck the state with 150 mph winds in late August, "is still very fresh and very raw and I think that had something to do with more people evacuating for Delta," Hunter said.

Schools and government offices were closed and officials in a dozen parishes called for evacuations. Residents bordered windows, sandbagged doors and moved out of the storm's path.

STATE SHELTER FILLS

“Let’s prepare for the worst and certainly pray for the best -and be good neighbors to one another,” Governor John Bel Edwards said. The state has called up 2,500 members of the national guard, and pre-positioned supplies to prepare for the storm. A shelter that in the past held 2,000 people had to refer arrivals elsewhere because of pandemic restrictions, he said.

Forecast models show Delta making landfall near Lake Charles as a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. It could also unleash tornadoes as it moves over land and drop up to 10 inches (25 cm) of rain, the NHC said.

Laura damaged tens of thousands of homes, leaving roofs throughout the region dotted with protective blue tarps, and left more than 6,000 people still living temporarily in hotels.

Floria Semien, 62, and her family took shelter in a hotel after leaving home near Lake Charles two days after its electric power was restored from Laura.

“It's heartbreaking," she said. "My family made it out OK so we just are going to put one foot in front of the other.”

DELTA SETS STORM RECORD

Along a pasture east of Lake Charles, Addison Alford manned a mobile weather radar station brought in from Oklahoma on Thursday because the permanent station was damaged during Laura.

He and a colleague plan to ride out the storm from inside a heavy vehicle equipped a radar dish. "We're really trying to make sure the data streams stay up during the entire event," he said.

Energy companies have shut 1.7 million barrels per day, or 92% of the Gulf's oil output, as of midday Friday, the most since 2005 when Hurricane Katrina destroyed more than 100 offshore platforms and hobbled output for months. The U.S. Coast Guard closed ports from Beaumont, Texas, to Lake Charles ahead of the storm.

When Delta reaches the northern Gulf Coast, it will be the 10th named storm to make a U.S. landfall this year, eclipsing a record that has stood since 1916.

(Reporting by Stephanie Kelly in Baton Rouge; Writing and additional reporting by Gary McWilliams in Houston; Editing by David Gregorio, Raju Gopalakrishnan, Chizu Nomiyama and Marguerita Choy)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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