Still recovering from last storm, Louisiana braces for Hurricane Delta

by Reuters
Thursday, 8 October 2020 13:40 GMT

Damaged telecommunicaton lines and street signs are seen in the wake of Hurricane Delta in Cancun, in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico October 7, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Romero

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Residents in Louisiana's coastal areas and those living outside the levees are urged to evacuate after Delta battered Mexico

(Updates with expected U.S. landfall, windspeed)

Oct 8 (Reuters) - Louisiana on Thursday steeled itself for another in a record-breaking series of violent storms as Hurricane Delta sped across the Gulf of Mexico toward a region still recovering from the last storm.

Delta struck Mexico's tourist enclaves on the Yucatan peninsula on Wednesday, shaking residents and leaving behind a mess of overturned trees and shattered glass. It intensified overnight over the Gulf of Mexico Thursday and is expected to strengthen to winds of 115 miles per hour (185 kmh) before crashing into Louisiana on Friday afternoon or evening.

A hurricane warning extended the Texas-Louisiana border to Morgan City, Louisiana, and the National Hurricane Center said Delta could bring heavy rains, strong winds and a 4- to 7-foot (1.2-2.1 meters) storm surge to coastal areas.

The approaching storm has halted some oil exports and led energy producers to evacuate workers and shut-in offshore oil and gas production. The U.S. Coast Guard warned shippers of potential gale force winds from Port Arthur, Texas, to Mobile, Alabama.

Residents in Louisiana's coastal areas and those living outside the protective levee system have been urged to evacuate. A hurricane watch covers from the Texas-Louisiana border to Grand Isle, Louisiana, the National Hurricane Center said.

"We have today to prepare ourselves and our families for the arrival of Hurricane Delta," Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards told residents. "Let's make it count."

If Delta's path shifts further west, it could strike the state's southwestern parishes that are still recovering from September's Hurricane Laura. In June, Louisiana was whipped by Tropical Storm Cristobal.

There are about 8,000 people still living in hotel rooms as a result of the devastation to homes in the southwest of the state from by Laura, Edwards said on Wednesday.

When Delta reaches the northern Gulf Coast, it will be the 10th named storm to make a U.S. landfall this year, eclipsing a record that has held since 1916.

(Reporting by Erwin Seba in Houston and Anthony Esposito in Cancun; writing by Gary McWilliams; Editing by Leslie Adler and Nick Zieminski)

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