Heavy rain and strong winds continue to hit parts of the United States Gulf Coast, the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said on Saturday morning, as residents assess the damage hours after Hurricane Delta made landfall off the coast of the state of Louisiana.
The hurricane has been downgraded to a tropical depression over western Mississippi, the NHC said in a briefing note at around 10am local time (15:00 GMT), with winds of 55 kilometres per hour (35 miles per hour).
“There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect,” it said.
In neighbouring Louisiana, where many residents had evacuated their homes on Friday as the storm approached, people emerged on Saturday to assess the damage.
Delta was the second major hurricane to hit the state’s southwest region in six weeks, after Hurricane Laura struck in August, leaving more than a dozen people dead and causing damage estimated at a cost of several billion dollars.
Here are the 10 AM CDT Key Messages for Tropical Depression #Delta. Heavy rainfall will lead to flash flooding across portions of the Lower Mississippi and Tennessee Valleys today and into the Southern Appalachians through Sunday. See https://t.co/SiZo8ohZMN for local hazards. pic.twitter.com/so8o0KNiUT
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) October 10, 2020
“We’re picking up the pieces, but we have quite a road ahead of us,” Nic Hunter, the mayor of Lake Charles, a city of 75,000 people in Louisiana’s southwest region, told CNN on Saturday.
He said Delta’s passage so soon after Laura felt like “a double whammy”.
“It’s adding insult to injury,” he told the US news channel.
Local television station WAFB-9, based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, reported about 300,000 people were without electricity on Saturday morning due to the storm.
The station said photos of crushed cars and damaged homes were widespread, as well.
Delta was the second major hurricane to hit southwest Louisiana in six weeks after Hurricane Laura struck in August [Adrees Latif/Reuters]Delta was packing 160km/h (100mph) winds when it made landfall on Friday evening, classifying it as a Category 2 storm.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, who this week declared a state of emergency as the hurricane approached, is expected to hold a news conference on Saturday, WAFB-9 reported, to provide an update on the situation.