ABBEVILLE, La. – Ripping tarps from already damaged roofs and scattering debris piled by roadsides, Hurricane Delta inflicted a new round of destruction on Louisiana as it struck communities still reeling after Hurricane Laura took a similar path just six weeks earlier.
When Delta came ashore Friday as a Category 2 hurricane, almost all homes and buildings in Lake Charles still bore battered roofs and other damage from Laura. Piles of moldy mattresses, sawed-up trees and other debris still lined the streets.
Mayor Nic Hunter said tarps were flying off homes across the city.
“I’m in a building right now with a tarp on it and just the sound of the tarp flapping on the building sounds like someone pounding with a sledgehammer on top of the building,“ Hunter said as he rode out the storm downtown. ”It’s pretty intense.”
Delta crashed onshore Friday night near the coastal town of Creole — a distance of only about 15 miles (24 kilometers) from where Laura struck land in August, killing 27 people in Louisiana.
In Lake Charles, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) 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 Laura damaged his home hadn’t blown off. His windows were covered to protect against flying debris.
“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.”
Delta hit with top winds of 100 mph (155 kph) but rapidly grew weaker. Within two hours of hitting land, it had dwindled to a Category 1 storm with 85 mph (140 kph) winds. Still, forecasters warned of life-threatening storm surge that could reach up to 11 feet (3.4 meters). Flash flood warnings were posted for much of southwestern Louisiana and parts of neighboring Texas.