Louisiana is steeling itself for another in a record-breaking series of violent storms as Hurricane Delta speeds across the Gulf of Mexico toward a region still recovering from its last battering.
Delta struck Mexico’s tourist enclaves on the Yucatan peninsula on Wednesday, shaking residents and leaving behind a mess of overturned trees and shattered glass.
It is expected to intensify over the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday to winds of up to 185 km/h before crashing into Louisiana on Friday.
The approaching storm has halted some oil exports and led energy producers to evacuate workers and shut-in offshore oil and gas production.
The US Coast Guard warned shippers of potential gale force winds from Port Arthur, Texas, to Mobile, Alabama.
Residents in Louisiana’s coastal areas and those living outside the protective levee system have been urged to evacuate.
A hurricane watch covers from the Texas-Louisiana border to Grand Isle, Louisiana, the National Hurricane Center said.
By the end of Thursday, “you need to be in your shelter for the storm,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards told residents.
Tropical storm-force winds could be felt across the state, officials said.
If Delta’s path shifts further west, it could strike the state’s southwestern parishes that are still recovering from September’s Hurricane Laura. In June, Louisiana was whipped by Tropical Storm Cristobal.
There are about 8000 people still living in hotel rooms as a result of the devastation to homes in the southwest of the state from by Laura, Edwards said on Wednesday.
When Delta reaches the northern Gulf Coast, it will be the 10th named storm to make a US landfall this year, eclipsing a record that has held since 1916.