Category 3 storm Delta heads straight for communities still reeling from a devastating hurricane season

US Gulf Coast communities are bracing for a “life-threatening” storm surge and ferocious winds as Hurricane Delta, now a powerful Category 3 storm, inches closer.

The storm, packing winds of about 120 mph early Friday, is expected to make landfall Friday evening, just east of Lake Charles, according to meteorologist Rob Shackelford, and hit communities already battered by Hurricane Laura just weeks ago.
“We believe that there will be hurricane force winds and storm surge in southwest Louisiana in the area of our state that is least prepared to take it,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Thursday, urging residents to create a game plan for the storm.
The National Hurricane Center warned of a “dangerous” storm surge that’s expected near the hurricane’s landfall and parts of Louisiana’s coastline could see up to 11 feet of water. That will be coupled with high winds and rainfall that’s likely to lead to “significant flash flooding” in parts of Louisiana Friday and Saturday, the center said.
    “While we have every intention of getting to you as quickly as possible should you need rescuing or any other assistance, you should plan as if the first 72 hours is on you,” Edwards said.
    Several communities, including Cameron Parish and Calcasieu Parish — where Lake Charles is located — have mandatory evacuation orders in place.
    A hurricane warning is in effect for High Island, Texas, to Morgan City, Louisiana, and storm surge warnings are in effect for parts of Texas to Mississippi, according to the National Hurricane Center.
    Up to 10 inches of rain is expected through Saturday for parts of south and central Louisiana, with some areas forecast to see as much as 15 inches of water, Shackelford said.
    Bang Bui prepares his business Handy Mart as Hurricane Delta approaches in Abbeville, Louisiana Thursday

    ‘I’m packing up to leave again’

    In a last call to get residents evacuated, Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter said Thursday afternoon city employees would move “heaven and earth” to help evacuate anyone who wanted to leave the city ahead of the storm.
    “We are getting to a moment in time eventually, where it will not be safe any more to get out on the roads,” Hunter said in a video message posted on Facebook. “Think about you and your family. And it is our strong request that you heed the advice and evacuate. “
    Traffic is jammed on I-10 westbound amid evacuations ahead of Hurricane Delta on Thursday in Lake Charles, Louisiana

    In Cameron, Louisiana, Leona Boullion told CNN affiliate KPRC her home was spared by Hurricane Laura, but she wasn’t sure if she’d be as lucky this time around.
    “I’m packing up to leave again,” Boullion told the affiliate. “I’m just hoping that I have something to come back to.”
    Local leaders also warned of the possibility of tornadoes, which could come through Friday over parts of Louisiana and Mississippi, according to the hurricane center.
    A tropical storm warning was in effect in parts of Texas and Louisiana, including New Orleans, where Mayor LaToya Cantrell said she was “very much concerned about” the possibility of tornadoes.
    “We are not in the cone, but again, we do anticipate feeling strong impacts related to Hurricane Delta,” she said, according to CNN affiliate WDSU. “Tropical storm force winds, this is also a big concern, rainfall and possible flash flooding is what we are expecting.”

    Mississippi National Guard resources on ready

    Meanwhile, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said Thursday the state has sent out resources to help communities and will deploy National Guard resources as well if needed.
    Officials there also warned of the possibility of tornadoes in the state, as well as heavy rain.
    “We anticipate the storm, or at least what’s left of the eye of it will only spend about 30 hours in Mississippi,” Reeves said. “During that time, we do expect significant rainfall, up to four to six inches in the southwestern counties, and maybe in some of the western Delta counties that are on the Mississippi River.”
    Earlier this week the governor declared a state of emergency “in anticipation of damage” and urged residents to “prep for the worst.”
    In Texas, public safety officials urged residents across the coast to prepare for severe weather including strong winds and localized flooding. The governor said earlier this week the state had prepared resources so it could be ready to respond.
    “Texans in the path of this storm should continue to heed the guidance and direction of local officials, remain cautious, and remember – Turn Around, Don’t Drown,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a news release.

    CDC warns of carbon monoxide poisoning

    Ahead of the storm, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also warned doctors and clinics to keep an eye out for carbon monoxide poisoning.
    People often turn on gas-powered generators, charcoal or gas grills and propane devices when the power goes out after a storm hits and these can generate carbon monoxide — an invisible, odorless and lethal gas.
    “If used or placed improperly, these sources can lead to carbon monoxide (CO) build up inside buildings, garages, or campers and poison the people and animals inside,” the CDC said in a warning this week.
      At least nine deaths tied to Hurricane Laura in Louisiana were from carbon monoxide poisoning, health officials said last month.
      “These devices should never be used inside an enclosed space, home, basement, garage, or camper — or even outside near an open window or window air conditioner,” the CDC said.

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