Louisiana braces for rains, storm surge as Hurricane Delta strengthens over Gulf
By Catherine Koppel LAFAYETTE, La. (Reuters) - Louisiana steeled itself on Thursday for another in a record-breaking series of violent storms, closing flood control gates as Hurricane Delta took aim at a corner of the state still recovering from the last storm
By Catherine Koppel
LAFAYETTE, La. (Reuters) - Louisiana steeled itself on Thursday for another in a record-breaking series of violent storms, closing flood control gates as Hurricane Delta took aim at a corner of the state still recovering from the last storm.
Delta's size grew and its winds intensified over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, was packing winds of 115 miles per hour (185 kph) and was expected to strengthen on Thursday night, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
Louisiana closed nearly half of the state's coast flood control gates by Thursday afternoon ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Delta, Governor John Bel Edwards told a news conference.
Delta is likely to make landfall on Friday in hard-hit southwest Louisiana, between the cities of Lake Charles and Lafayette, said Benjamin Schott, chief meteorologist of the National weather Service office in New Orleans.
"We've survived much worse," said Lafayette resident Rebecca Sebastian as she and two friends stopped in the city center to buy sweets. "We may have a few gusts of 100 mph winds but we've done this before."
The storm could drive a 4- to 11-foot (1.2-3.3 meters) storm surge up Vermilion Bay on the coast, the NHC said. It could also unleash tornadoes as it moves over land and drop up to 10 inches (25 cm) of rain, it said.
NEW ORLEANS NOT IN PATH
New Orleans likely will escape the storm and experience gusty winds and mild rain, said AccuWeather meteorologist Dan Kottlowski, with Lafayette the largest city on the storm's eastern and more dangerous side.
On Thursday morning, Morgan City resident Lisa Mire and three friends took shelter from a light rain to pray for former colleagues facing the COVID-19 pandemic as teachers.
The storm added urgency to the group's regular get-together, she said.
"We have today to prepare ourselves and our families for the arrival of Hurricane Delta," Edwards told residents. "Let's make it count."
The state sought and received a federal emergency declaration, he said, making additional resources available.
Energy companies halted 92%, of nearly 1.7 million barrels per day of offshore oil output, and 62% of natural gas production, data showed. The U.S. Coast Guard warned shippers of impending gale force winds from Port Arthur, Texas, to New Orleans.
Southwestern Louisiana bore the brunt of Hurricane Laura's fierce winds and storm surge in August. There are about 8,000 people still living in hotel rooms as a result of the devastation to homes in the southwest of the state from by Laura, Edwards said on Wednesday.
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 held since 1916.
(Additional reporting by Erwin Seba in Houston; writing by Gary McWilliams and Bill Tarrant; Editing by Nick Zieminski, David Gregorio and Richard Pullin)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.