Weary Louisiana residents assess damage from latest hurricane

Weary Louisiana residents assess damage from latest hurricane

A reporter covers his face as Hurricane Delta makes landfall in Lake Charles, Louisiana on October 9, 2020

Weary Louisiana residents emerged to sunny skies Saturday as they began to assess the damage wrought by the second devastating storm to roar through in two months, Hurricane Delta, now a tropical storm.

There were no immediate reports of victims from the storm, now greatly weakened as it churns northeast toward neighboring Mississippi.

While Delta left hundreds of thousands of people without power in both Louisiana and Texas, damage generally appeared moderate.

In Lake Charles, a city of 75,000 still recovering from the August 20 passage of Hurricane Laura, Delta dumped 16 inches (40 centimeters) of rain, flooding many homes and leaving knee-high water in some areas.

“We’re picking up the pieces, but we have quite a road ahead of us,” Mayor Nic Hunter said Saturday on CNN.

He said Delta’s passage so soon after Laura felt like “a double whammy… It’s adding insult to injury.”

The blue plastic tarpaulins that had been lashed over roofs damaged by Laura were ripped away overnight by Delta’s powerful winds in the latest test of residents’ nerves and preparations.

Delta was packing 100 mile per hour (160 kilometer per hour) winds when it rumbled ashore on Friday—classifying it as a Category 2 storm on a scale of five—but by Saturday its sustained winds had weakened to 40 mph, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

This RAMMB/CIRA satellite image shows Hurricane Delta over the US Gulf Coast on October 9, 2020

Storm surges of eight feet (2.4 meters) or more hit Louisiana shores in some areas.

Delta was the 10th significant storm of the year to make landfall in the United States, which forecasters said was a record.

Nearly 600,000 people were without electricity Saturday in Louisiana, according to specialized website PowerOutage, along with 100,000 in neighboring Texas, whose eastern coast was hit hard by Delta.

Dozens of electricians who had come from nearby states to help restore power after Laura’s passage were still in Louisiana and were going to work Saturday to repair Delta’s damage.

Laura, a Category 4 hurricane when it hit Louisiana, ripped roofs off houses and uprooted trees, littering streets with debris.

Battered US Gulf

Earlier, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced that 2,400 National Guard personnel had been mobilized to aid locals, saying Thursday that the storm was targeting “the area of our state that is least prepared to take it.”

Late in the week, Shannon Fuselier had helped a friend in Lake Charles install plywood sheets to protect windows on a home that had been struck by a falling tree during Laura.

“The branches and leaves don’t do that much damage,” said Fuselier, 56. “It’s pieces of metal, steel, frames of other people’s windows, signs from people’s stores, nails.”

Terry Lebine was among those who evacuated late in the week. As she had during Laura, she headed to the town of Alexandria, some 100 miles to the north.

“It’s exhausting,” she told AFP. “I’ve got my mother, she’s 81 years old and not in the best of health. Right after we went back home after Laura, we have to leave again for Delta. We were home a good two to three weeks.”

The storm toppled trees and tore down power lines in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula Wednesday, but the region escaped major destruction and no deaths were reported.

Delta is the 26th named storm of an unusually active Atlantic hurricane season.

As the ocean surface warms due to climate change, hurricanes become more powerful. Scientists say there will likely be an increase in powerful Category 4 and 5 storms.

© 2020 AFP

Weary Louisiana residents assess damage from latest hurricane (2020, October 10)
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