“It was quite a night”
A big concern ahead of the Delta’s arrival had been that the winds would pick up the debris left by Laura – piles of soggy insulation, moldy mattresses, tree limbs and twisted metal siding – and turn it into projectiles. But in at least some neighborhoods, the small mountains stood on curbs more or less intact.
Some residents were relieved as they surveyed their homes when the sun rose.
“It was quite a night,” Lake Charles resident Don Dixon said as he cleaned up branches and assessed his home in the Louisiana city. Dixon worried as the rain poured and the wind howled, but the damage was not as bad as he had feared.
“All in all, we got punched in the face, but we’re getting back up,” Dixon said.
Anther resident, Caleb Cormier, drove around all morning, and said most of the damage he’d seen was debris on the roads and one downed electrical line.
“It really is nowhere near the amount of damage that Hurricane Laura did, and I’m very grateful for that,” Cormier said as he cleared up tree branches and garbage from the street so it wouldn’t be a hazard for passing cars.
Still, damage reached far inland, with trees shorn of leaves and falling onto streets in Louisiana’s capital of Baton Rouge. Widespread power outages were also reported.
Delta weakens to a tropical depression
Delta weakened to a tropical depression Saturday morning, but the threat of heavy rain was continuing, according to forecasters.
The storm is expected to dump another 2 to 4 inches of rain in Arkansas and Mississippi, with as much as 10 inches in some areas. “These rainfall amounts will lead to flash, urban, small stream, and minor river flooding,” the National Hurricane Center said.
As much as 3 inches of rain is expected in Alabama, the Tennessee Valley and the Mid-Atlantic over the course of the weekend. “There is a potential for 3 to 6 inches in the Southern to Central Appalachians, which could lead to flash, urban, small stream, along
with isolated minor river flooding,” the center said.
Forecasters continue to warn that tornadoes remain possible in Alabama, the Florida Panhandle and Georgia through early Saturday night.
Louisiana governor: “Everyone needs to remain vigilant”
Louisiana’s governor said in a tweet Saturday that Delta left hazards including flooded road and downed power lines in its wake and cautioned that no one should take the dangers lightly.
“Everyone needs to remain vigilant, continue to listen to local officials and be safe,” said Governor John Bel Edwards.
The governor’s office said it had no reports of deaths early Saturday, but a hurricane’s wake can be treacherous. Only seven of the 32 deaths in Louisiana and Texas attributed to Hurricane Laura came the day that hurricane struck. A leading cause of the others was carbon monoxide poisoning from generators used in places without electricity. Others died in accidents while cleaning up.
Some who rode out Laura hunkered down with Delta.
Some who rode out Hurricane Laura hunkered down again with Delta.
Jeanne-Marie Gove could hear debris hitting her door in Lafayette, Louisiana, as her patio gate banged open and shut while Delta hit.
“The wind gusts are making the glass from our windows bow inward,” Gove tweeted. “It’s pretty scary.”
Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter spoke with The Associated Press as he rode out Delta’s arrival downtown. He said tarps were flying off homes across the city, and piles of wreckage were being blown around, some of it floating in the surge of ocean water.
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.”
Lake Charles area remains dangerous, sheriff says
A Louisiana parish heavily hit by Hurricane Delta is experiencing rising waters from heavy rain. Sheriff Tony Mancuso of Calcasieu Parish told KPLC-TV early Saturday that vehicles were overturned on Interstate-10 westbound and said area residents who evacuated should not be in a rush to return.
He said the situation remains “dangerous.”
Still, anyone who cannot afford to be gone for more than several days can head back, he said, but with caution. People just need “to use some good common sense.”
He said rising water is the biggest problem, and areas prone to flooding have been flooded.
Louisiana National Guard helping hard-hit areas
On Saturday morning, 2,500 members of Louisiana’s National Guard are fanning out to help hard-hit areas, CBS News’ Mireya Villarreal reports.
Winds topped out at 100 miles per hour as Delta hit, following nearly the same path as Hurricane Laura.
“I want folks to be hopeful, because we’re going to do everything we can to get them right-side up again” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards promised in a press conference.
Delta is the fourth named storm to hit Louisiana in 2020.
Lake Charles minister Darren Worthington, whose church coordinates relief efforts, called the storm’s effects “devastating.” He expressed confidence in his city bouncing back, but admitted that the string of storms this season has taken its toll.
“The need is enormous. It is absolutely enormous. If you have driven around, and I know you have, you just see fences down, blue tarps on every roof,” he said.
“It’s just been that kind of year.”
More than 700,000 power outages reported
Over 700,000 power outages were being reported across three states Saturday morning as Delta moves further inland. More than 586,600 were reported in Louisiana, with another 103,598 in Texas and 67,873 in Mississippi, according to poweroutages.us.
Delta inflicted a new round of destruction in communities still reeling from Hurricane Laura. It made landfall near the coastal town of Creole – only 15 miles or so from where Laura struck land in August. It then moved directly over Lake Charles, a waterfront city about 30 miles inland where the earlier hurricane damaged nearly every home and building, and where moldy mattresses, sawed-up trees and other debris still lined the streets.
Tornadoes possible in 4 states
The National Hurricane Center said a few tornadoes are possible Saturday in Alabama, eastern Mississippi, the Florida Panhandle and western/central Georgia.
Delta is also expected to dump another 2 to 5 inches of rain in Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi – with as 10 inches of rain in some areas.
“These rainfall amounts will lead to flash, urban, small stream, and minor river flooding,” the hurricane center said early Saturday.
“Just praying that everything goes well”
In Lake Charles, about 30 miles inland from where Delta came ashore, water leaked through the ceiling of Ernest Jack’s bedroom as he tried to sleep Friday night. Jack said the tarp covering his roof since Hurricane Laura damaged his home hadn’t blown off.
“It’s raining real hard; it’s flooding; the wind is strong,” Jack said Friday night. “I’m OK. I’m not worried about nothing, just praying that everything goes well.”
In the town of Lake Arthur, Delta’s winds peeled shingles off the roof of L’Banca Albergo Hotel, 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.
Palmero said the electricity was out and 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.