(The Center Square) – Southwest Louisiana residents who hadn’t evacuated were preparing to hunker down Friday afternoon as the region faced its second major hurricane in six weeks.
“We’re nowhere close to being fully recovered [from Hurricane Laura],” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “This is going to exacerbate what is already a bad situation.”
Hurricane Delta was expected to make landfall after 7 p.m. Friday between Lafayette and Lake Charles. Delta had weakened slightly and was expected to arrive as a Category 2 storm with sustained winds of about 110 miles per hour.
In Lake Charles, which took a direct hit from Laura, many homes are covered with blue tarps. Piles of debris still remain in many neighborhoods, which local officials fear strong winds will convert into dangerous projectiles.
Almost 10,000 Louisiana residents, mostly Hurricane Laura evacuees, are currently in shelters, Edwards said. The large state-run shelter in Alexandria has reached its 833-person capacity; normally the shelter can hold “thousands” but its capacity has been reduced to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19, he said.
Edwards said additional evacuees will be directed to shelters further north, though he believes most people who were going to evacuate before the storm have done so. Evacuees who are unable to return home post-storm will be moved to hotel rooms, he said.
People who need shelter can text lashelter to 898211 for more information. Information about road closures can be found at 511la.org
Delta is expected to dump between six and 10 inches of rain on southwest Louisiana, with more possible in isolated areas. Coastal Louisiana already was experiencing tropical storm-force winds early Friday, and the storm’s outer bands of rain already had caused flash flooding.
Laura continues to move quickly, which reduces the flood risk, and is expected to exit Louisiana in about 14 hours.
As of 1 p.m., Delta was about 80 miles south-southwest of Cameron, moving north-northwest at 14 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center. A hurricane warning was in effect from Morgan City to High Island, Texas.
A storm surge warning was in effect from High Island to the mouth of the Pearl River. Storm surge could reach as high as 11 feet from the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge to Morgan City, including Vermilion Bay, forecasters said.
By David Jacobs | The Center Square
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Reposted with permission