Tropical Depression Delta brings heavy rain and flood threats to Tennessee Valley after slamming US Gulf Coast

Delta, now a tropical storm, dropped over a foot of rain in Louisiana and its powerful winds pounded communities already ravaged by Hurricane Laura weeks ago. CNN's Derek Van Dam reports from Delcambre, Louisiana.

Posted: Oct 10, 2020 9:27 AM

More than 5 million people are under flash flood warnings across the lower Mississippi River Valley after Delta made landfall as a Category 2 hurricane and continued to drench the Southeast.

Delta, now a tropical depression, dropped over a foot of rain in Louisiana and its powerful winds pounded communities already ravaged by Hurricane Laura weeks ago. In its wake, it left more than 761,000 homes and businesses along the Gulf Coast without power, according to

Flash flood emergencies were also issued following the heavy rain, with parts of southwest Louisiana receiving up to 17 inches of water.

Delta has left a trail of "hazards like flooded roads, downed power lines and displaced wildlife" across the state, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said via Twitter Saturday. He urged residents to remain vigilant.

In Calcasieu Parish, on the southwestern border of the state, downed power lines, trees, flooding and debris had left several roads impassable, Calcasieu Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post. Multiple wrecks forced the closure of the I-10 Bridge in both directions.

Abandoned vehicles and a boat blocked some residential streets in the parish, according to the sheriff's post.

Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter, who rode out the storm in a downtown building, told CNN Saturday that Delta, while lower in strength than Laura, had led to more flooding.

For the rest of the southern Mississippi River Valley into the Tennessee Valley, heavy rain and flooding remains the main concern through Saturday night. Parts of the Southeast could see rainfall amounts of more than eight inches before the weekend is over.

Tornadoes were also possible Saturday morning over parts of southern Louisiana and Mississippi and over Alabama, Tennessee and the western Florida Panhandle, the National Hurricane Center said.

See the storm's path

With sustained winds of 35 mph, the center of Tropical Depression Delta was located 65 miles north-northwest of Jackson, Mississippi late Saturday morning. Delta was expected to weaken into a remnant low pressure area on Sunday.

A double whammy for southwest Louisiana

Hunter told CNN Lake Charles was dealt a double-whammy, between Hurricane Laura's wind destruction and Delta's floodwaters.

"Our primary concern is always public safety and human life," he said. "And that's why we were so forceful in encouraging people with our message to evacuate for Delta."

Hunter said more people evacuated for Delta than for Laura.

Highways out of Lake Charles were jam-packed as people evacuated ahead of the storm -- and another 7,000, according to Hunter's estimate, were still displaced since Laura.

"But let me tell you, we're not sitting on our hands," Hunter said Saturday. "Already we're picking up the pieces. But we have quite a road ahead of us. There's a lot of homes that were damaged from Laura and now it's just adding insult to injury with what happened with Delta. So we have a long road of recovery ahead of us."

The mayor praised first responders who were conducting search and rescue operations as soon as winds died down as "heroes" and "angels among us."

About 10 miles west in Sulphur, Louisiana, one resident posted images of flooded streets and warned of fallen trees as well as debris that had "been strewn by the wind" and were now underwater.

"In short - Stay Home. Stay Safe," Kip Coltrin wrote on Facebook.

A historic storm

Hurricane Delta is the 25th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.

It first hit Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula Wednesday, bringing with it flooding and downed power lines before making its way to the US coast.

With winds nearing 100 mph, the storm made landfall Friday evening near Creole, Louisiana, just miles away from where the deadly Hurricane Laura slammed coastal communities weeks ago.

And this week's storm is a historic one: Delta was the fifth hurricane to make landfall in the US this year -- the most since 2005. It was also the 10th named storm to make landfall this year in the continental US -- the most in one year (after 1916, which saw nine landfalls).

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Another mostly sunny and hot day for northern California today, quite similar to yesterday. Our weather will begin to change tomorrow, however, as a disturbance brings more clouds, cooler air, and a few showers and thunderstorms.
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