Delta adds insult to injury in hurricane-ravaged Louisiana
“I’m in a building right now with a tarp on it and just the sound of the tarp flapping on the building sounds like someone pounding with a sledgehammer on top of the building,” Hunter said. “It’s pretty intense.”
In Lake Arthur, Delta’s winds peeled shingles off the roof of L’Banca Albergo, an eight-room boutique hotel in what used to be a bank.
“I probably don’t have a shingle left on the top of this hotel,” owner Roberta Palermo said as the winds gusted outside.
The electricity was out and Palermo said she could see pieces of metal coming off the roof of a 100-year-old building across the street. Unsecured trash cans were flying around the streets.
“There is a lot of power lines down all over the place, there’s … really deep water in certain spots,” said hotel guest Johnny Weaver. He had been out in the weather with his friends earlier and one friend’s car was stranded in the water.
About 740,000 homes and businesses were without power in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi early Saturday, according to the tracking website PowerOutage.us.
In Lafayette, about 75 miles (120 kilometres east of Lake Charles, drivers cautiously moved through dark intersections before dawn Saturday along a parkway where long stretches were left shrouded without electricity.
“Rising water with all the rain is the biggest problem,” Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso told KPLC-TV on Saturday. “It’s still dangerous out there, and we’re just going to have to start over from a few weeks ago.”
He said vehicles were overturned on Interstate-10 — a harsh lesson for anyone hoping to rush back into the disaster area.
“I just think people need to use some good common sense,” Mancuso said.
Tropical storm force winds reached 160 miles (260 kilometres outward from the storm’s centre early Saturday. A 68 mph (110 kph gust was reported at LSU’s Tiger Stadium overnight, and a 55 mph (68 kph gust was reported at Adams County airport in Natchez, Mississippi.
In Galveston, Texas, about 100 miles (160 kilometres from where the centre made landfall, winds toppled trees, street signs and two homes under construction, and with dunes flattened by earlier storms, the surge reached beneath raised houses. Large swells and rip currents prompted beach closures as far west as the mouth of the Rio Grande.
Delta also downed trees across Mississippi, including one that landed on a Jackson-based WLBT-TV vehicle with a news crew inside. No one was injured.
Forecasters said the storm would move into the Tennessee Valley Saturday and into Sunday as a tropical depression. At 7 a.m. local time, it was centred about 45 miles (70 kilometres east of Monroe, Louisiana.
Delta, the 25th named storm of an unprecedented Atlantic hurricane season, made the record books when it struck the Gulf Coast. It was the first Greek-alphabet-named hurricane to hit the continental U.S. And it became the 10th named storm to hit the mainland U.S. this year, breaking a century-old record set in 1916, according to Colorado State University researcher Phil Klotzbach.
Delta was the fourth named storm to strike Louisiana in 2020. Tropical Storm Marco fizzled as it hit the southeast Louisiana tip just three days before Laura struck. And Tropical Storm Cristobal caused damage in southeast Louisiana in June.
Some who rode out Laura hunkered down again with Delta. Jeanne-Marie Gove could hear debris hitting her door in Lafayette as her patio gate banged open and shut. She said the roof from a trailer at the mobile home park behind her apartment was torn off and tossed down the sidewalk.
“The wind gusts are making the glass from our windows bow inward,” Gove tweeted. “It’s pretty scary.”
Hunter said he thought more people evacuated for Delta than Laura, reducing emergency calls during the worst of the storm. Across the disaster area, people could only wait for the waters to recede before getting a full view of the damage.
“I believe that Delta could actually be more of a flooding issue than Laura was from what I’m seeing and what I’m hearing right now in the thick of it,” the mayor said Friday night.
“We really just need people not to forget about us,” Hunter said. “We are going to be in the recovery mode for months and probably years from these two hurricanes. It’s just unprecedented and historic what has happened to us.”
Associated Press contributors include Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Gerald Herbert in Lake Charles, Louisiana; Kevin McGill in New Orleans; Seth Borenstein in Kensington, Maryland; Russ Bynum in Savannah, Georgia; Leah Willingham in Jackson, Mississippi; and Sophia Tulp in Atlanta.