Hurricane Delta delivered another punch to Louisiana, six weeks after Hurricane Laura clobbered it. And the Southern state’s governor said the worst is not over.
"Everybody needs to exercise a lot of caution even now, and really, especially now," Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Saturday.
While no deaths have been reported, he said, the storm’s wake can be treacherous. Most of the 32 deaths in Louisiana and Texas attributed to Laura came in the days after the hurricane struck.
Tremendously heavy rain
Delta, the 25th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, smothered southwestern Louisiana with almost 45 centimeters (18 inches) of rain in less than 12 hours.
U.S. forecasters said Delta made landfall Friday evening in central Louisiana at almost the same spot on the southern U.S. Gulf Coast as Hurricane Laura.
In its latest report Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said Delta had weakened to a tropical depression, bringing “heavy rains over much of Louisiana.” Delta’s winds ripped tarps off buildings placed there just weeks ago in the aftermath of Laura.
Johnny Weaver in Lake Arthur, Louisiana, told The Associated Press, “There is a lot of power lines down all over the place, there’s ... really deep water in certain spots.”
Storms are frequent on the U.S. Gulf Coast, and the people who live there are resilient, Lake Charles resident Katie Prejean McGrady said. But the back-to-back storms — on top of the pandemic — have left many people reeling, she said.
"I'm taxed out. And I think that's most people in town," she told The Associated Press. "There's a mental exhaustion that sets in, and then there's a fear of, 'Does anybody outside this region care?' " she said. "The reality is our town won't be the same for a year, if not longer."
'Unprecedented and catastrophic'
Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter estimated that hundreds of homes already damaged by Laura again took on water. He, too, predicted a long recovery.
"Add Laura and Delta together, and it's just absolutely unprecedented and catastrophic," Hunter told AP. "We are very concerned that with everything going on in the country right now, that this incident may not be on the radar nationally like it should be."
Forecasters said Delta should move across northern Mississippi and into the Tennessee Valley late Saturday and Sunday.