Louisiana residents flee as Hurricane Delta bears down on U.S. Gulf Coast
By Stephanie Kelly LAKE CHARLES, La. (Reuters) - The streets in this southwest Louisiana city were deserted on Friday as Hurricane Delta approached, threatening to add misery to people struggling to recover from the damage inflicted by a hurricane less than two months ago.
By Stephanie Kelly
LAKE CHARLES, La. (Reuters) - The streets in this southwest Louisiana city were deserted on Friday as Hurricane Delta approached, threatening to add misery to people struggling to recover from the damage inflicted by a hurricane less than two months ago.
Delta was a Category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale early Friday, packing winds of 115 miles per hour (185 kph) and soaking parts of the state with heavy rain. New Orleans will see only gusty winds, forecasters said, but central and southwest communities could face a "life threatening" storm surge of up to 11 feet (3.3 meters).
"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 city 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, residents boarded windows and moved out of the storm's path in several parishes. Officials ordered evacuations in those communities facing the second major hurricane in as many months.
"I know people in Louisiana, especially the southwest, are very strong and very resilient, but they are going to be tested here," Governor John Bel Edwards said at a Thursday news conference.
Forecast models show Delta making landfall as a category 2 hurricane by Friday evening, according to the National Weather Service. It could also unleash tornadoes as it moves over land and drop up to 10 inches (25 cm) of rain.
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.
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.
Cities along the Gulf Coast from Galveston, Texas, to New Orleans are experiencing gusty winds, rain and local flooding. Louisiana and Mississippi received federal emergency declaration that will bring additional resources to the region.
Energy companies halted 92%, or nearly 1.7 million barrels per day of offshore oil output, and 62% of natural gas production, data showed. 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.
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.