On Friday night, Hurricane Delta, now a tropical storm, made landfall near Creole, Louisiana, with almost 11 million people in the storm’s path.
On Saturday morning, as the storm pushed further inland, more than 700,000 power outages were recorded across Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
“Delta will continue to impact portions of the Gulf Coast with storm surge, heavy rainfall, flooding, and dangerous winds as it advances northward,” the National Weather Service said Saturday.
According to forecasters, the Delta is now predicted to pass through northeastern Louisiana before passing across northern Mississippi and into the Tennessee Valley later on Saturday and Sunday. Later on Saturday, it is forecast to weaken further, to a tropical depression.
The hurricane had sustained winds of 77 mph with gusts up to 96 mph when it hit Louisiana.
By 1 a.m. CT Saturday, the hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm, according to an advisory from the National Hurricane Center. It was expected to impact some of the same areas that Hurricane Laura damaged about six weeks ago.
Hurricane Delta rapidly intensified into a powerful Category 2 storm Tuesday and is expected to reach Category 4 status as it rips across the Gulf of Mexico then treks north toward the U.S. southeast.
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.
A new round of devastation in the communities still recovering from Hurricane Laura was inflicted by Delta. Near the coastal town of Creole, just 15 miles or so from where Laura hit land in August, it made landfall.
It then passed directly over Lake Charles, a coastal city about 30 miles inland where almost every home and building was destroyed by the earlier hurricane, and where the streets were still lined by moldy mattresses, sawed-up trees and other debris.
Delta is forecast to lash Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on Wednesday with “extremely dangerous storm surge” and “significant flash flooding.” While forecasters are unsure exactly where and when it could hit the U.S., areas from Louisiana to the western Florida Panhandle could see dangerous conditions Thursday night into Friday.
The National Hurricane Center says Delta is going through “a very impressive rapid intensification episode.” Less than 24 hours ago, Delta was a tropical depression that the National Hurricane Center had initially pegged to just muster hurricane strength on Tuesday.
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.