Boarded windows and empty sidewalks made parts of Louisiana’s Acadiana region look like empty movie sets as major Hurricane Delta roared ever closer to the US Gulf coast, apparently on track to smash into the same southwestern part of the state where Hurricane Laura blasted ashore six weeks ago.
Forecasters said Delta, the 25th named storm of an unprecedented Atlantic hurricane season, would likely crash ashore Friday evening somewhere on southwest Louisiana’s coast.
The question was whether it would remain at devastating Category 3 strength or drop just before landfall to a still extremely dangerous Category 2 storm, with winds falling below 110 miles per hour (177 kph).
Either way, people in this battered coastal region were taking Delta seriously.
“You can always get another house, another car but not another life”, said Hilton Stroder as he and his wife Terry boarded up their Abbeville home with plans to head to their son’s house further east.
As Delta churned north at 12 mph (19 kph) on Friday morning, the National Hurricane Center had a hurricane warning in place for the Gulf Coast extending from High Island, Texas, to Morgan City, Louisiana.
It marked the sixth time this season that Louisiana has been threatened by tropical storms or hurricanes. One fizzled at the southeast Louisiana tip and others veered elsewhere but Tropical Storm Cristobal caused damage in southeast Louisiana in June.
Life wasn’t at a complete standstill though. A gas station was doing steady business as people filled their cars and spare gasoline cans and a grocery store served the last customers stocking up. Similar scenes played out not far away in New Iberia, where the few signs of life included cars lined up at a drive-thru daiquiri shop and people grabbing food at take-out restaurants.