Flash flood emergencies were also issued following the heavy rain, with parts of southwest Louisiana receiving up to 17 inches of water. Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter, who rode out the storm in a downtown building, said the experience felt a little like “deja vu.”
“We’re all tired,” he told CNN affiliate KPLC late Friday. “The sun will come out again. As we’re in the thick of this right now, the main concern is human safety and human life.”
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 region 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.
A double whammy for southwest Louisiana
Hunter said Friday the city was dealt a double-whammy, between Hurricane Laura’s wind destruction and the floodwaters Delta could leave behind.
“Early reports are this is going to be more of a flooding event for us than Laura was,” he told CNN Friday. Search and rescue operations were slated to begin when the winds died down, he said.
But the city’s leader said he wasn’t sure how many people stayed behind to ride out the storm. 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 replaced since Laura.
“I’ll take all the thoughts and prayers I can get right now,” he said Friday.
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.