Latest: Hurricane Delta weakens to Category 1 storm after landfall


NEAR CREOLE, La. (NewsNation Now) — Hurricane Delta is driving further inland as strong winds continue to hammer the southwest Louisiana coast.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Delta was centered at 8 p.m. CDT about 20 miles east-northeast of Lake Charles, the main city in the region. Maximum sustained winds have dropped to 85 mph and forecasters say Delta is expected to weaken to a tropical storm in the coming hours as it heads deeper into the South.

The hurricane center warns heavy rainfall remains a threat in parts of Louisiana through Saturday as the storm crosses the state. It says that could lead to major river flooding. Additional flooding is possible elsewhere this weekend around the central Gulf Coast and lower Mississippi Valley, according to the forecast.

Delta’s landfall was only 15 miles to the east of where Hurricane Laura made landfall on Aug. 27.

Delta blew ashore in an area where devastation remains widely evident from Hurricane Laura, which caused at least 27 deaths.

Delta is the 10th named storm to hit the continental United States this year, breaking a century-old record.

Update from Lafayette, La

Wind and rain from Delta also pummeled the Louisiana city of Lafayette, further east from where the hurricane came ashore, and one apartment owner described it as “pretty scary.”

Jeanne-Marie Gove could hear debris hitting her front door and her patio gate banging open and shut. She lives in an apartment in Lafayette, about 75 miles east of Lake Charles closer to the hurricane’s center.

The National Hurricane Center said strong winds were spreading inland across Louisiana at 9 p.m. CDT Friday as Delta still had top sustained winds of 80 mph.

“The wind is much worse than what Hurricane Laura brought,” Gove said in a message on Twitter, referring to the storm that battered southwest Louisiana six weeks ago. The roof from a trailer at the mobile home park behind Gove’s apartment was torn off and tossed down the sidewalk. Power was out for many residents.

Gove added: “The wind gusts are making the glass from our windows bow inward.”

Update from Lake Arthur, La

Hurricane Delta’s winds are so strong they are pulling away shingles from L’Banca Albergo Hotel, an eight-room boutique hotel in the Louisiana town of Lake Arthur.

“I probably don’t have a shingle left on the top of this hotel,” said owner Roberta Palermo. She said the electricity was out and, across the street, she could see pieces of metal coming off the roof of a 100-year-old building. Unsecured trash cans were flying around on the streets.

Palermo is a long-time Louisiana resident who has grown up with hurricanes. “It’s been a long time since I’ve ridden one out. I don’t think I’ve ever been in one like this,” she said. “I think my building is pretty safe but it’s intense, for sure.”

One of her guests was Johnny Weaver, a meteorology student from San Francisco State University. He was living at home in Tampa, Florida, while studying online and decided to travel to the region to see and study the storm firsthand.

“There is a lot of power lines down all over the place, there’s … really deep water in certain spots,” he said from the hotel’s front porch, adding, ‘’there is just shingles flying everywhere.”

Update from Galveston, Texas

The effects of Hurricane Delta were felt as far west as Galveston, Texas, where winds gusts toppled two houses under construction.

Galveston is about 100 miles from where Delta made landfall on the southwest Louisiana coast Friday evening.

A spokeswoman for Sullivan Brothers Builders told The (Galveston) Daily News that the houses were in their early framing stages and still lacked windstorm construction reinforcements. Elizabeth Rogers-Alvarado said there were no injuries.

Trees and signs were toppled around the region.

And beach dunes flattened by Hurricane Laura in August and Tropical Storm Beta last month allowed storm surge to reach beneath the raised beach houses in Galveston’s West End. Thousands of customers lost electric power and Centerpoint Energy estimated many will remain blacked out until after midnight.

Schools and colleges canceled classes Friday in the coastal Texas counties east of Galveston Bay.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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