The storm made landfall some 20 miles from where Laura touched down a few weeks ago, intensifying the devastation the state has experienced during a brutal hurricane season.
BELL CITY, La. — Hurricane Delta tore across Louisiana late Friday, leaving a trail of destruction as it turned roadways into rapids and uprooted trees that crashed onto roofs. It also dealt a demoralizing blow to a state still staggering its way back from one of the most powerful storms that it had ever endured.
Delta made landfall in Cameron Parish, less than 20 miles to the east from where Hurricane Laura, with its 150 mile-per-hour winds, devastated communities in late August. And it cut a similar path across a wide swath of the state, hurling debris still piled up from the last storm and toppling utility poles and power lines that crews had just put back up.
“The town’s a mess,” Roberta Palermo said of Lake Arthur, La., a small community in Jefferson Davis Parish, which borders Cameron Parish, where she rode out Delta in the hotel she owns. “There’s debris everywhere and trash that didn’t get picked up from the first storm.”
Cameron Parish, a sprawling and sparsely populated area in the southwest corner of the state, was swamped yet again by storm surge. And in nearby Lake Charles, fierce winds had pulverized much of the area during Hurricane Laura, but Delta had unleashed flooding.
It quickly became evident that Delta, which hit the coast as a Category 2 storm, lacked the physical force of Laura, a Category 4 hurricane. Still, Delta seemed almost like a testament to nature’s capacity for cruelty, swooping in at the tail end of a brutal, record-breaking hurricane season and pounding beleaguered communities where the lives of residents had already been upended.
“People are feeling a little despondent,” Nic Hunter, the mayor of Lake Charles, said in an interview on Saturday morning. “To go through what we went through six weeks ago, and have another punch in the gut like we received last night, is just unimaginable.”
Delta, the 10th named storm to make landfall in the United States this year, arrived in the final weeks of an Atlantic hurricane season so busy that forecasters ran through an alphabet of names and moved on to calling storms by Greek letters. It had been 15 years since a season, which runs from June to November, has been this active.
The storm made landfall on Friday at about 6 p.m. local time in Cameron Parish, and pushed through the state overnight into Saturday, weakening into a tropical depression. Still, meteorologists warned of the continued threat of flash floods and tornadoes as the storm brought heavy rain and lashing winds across a span reaching from the East Texas coast to as far east as Baton Rouge.