The record-breaking Hurricane Delta has begun wreaking havoc on Louisiana just weeks after the southeastern US state was battered by Hurricane Laura.
Delta grew from an unnamed 35mph tropical depression to a 140mph Category-4 hurricane faster than any Atlantic storm on record before it hit Mexico earlier this week, according to scientists.
It has since lost some strength and hit the US coast as a Category 2 hurricane but still reached top winds of 100mph on Friday.
Locals in the city of Lake Charles reported seeing tarps flying off of homes, while a hotel owner said the storm peeled every tile off the roof her property
A guest at L’Banca Albergo Hotel told local media: ‘There are a lot of power lines down all over the place, there’s … really deep water in certain spots.’
Delta battered some 100 miles of coastline, reaching as far west as Galveston, in the neighbouring state of Texas, where two homes under construction were toppled.
More than 410,000 homes and businesses in Louisiana and Texas lost electricity within hours of the storm coming ashore on Friday, according to tracking website PowerOutage.us.
By Saturday morning Delta calmed to a tropical storm with 60mphs but forecasters warned storm surges and flash floods remained a risk in both states.
Meanwhile the number of properties with power outages had grown to almost 800,000.
Storms are considered to have undergone dangerous rapid intensification if they grow 35mph in wind speed over a 24-hour period, according to the US National Hurricane Centre.
In stark contrast Hurricane Delta grew by 75mph in 24 hours, University of Colorado meteorologist Sam Lillo told The Independent on Friday.
He added: ‘In the Atlantic, this is the fastest that a storm has gone from tropical depression to a Category-4 hurricane in 36 hours.’
It became the tenth named storm to hit the US mainland this year, breaking a century-old record set in 1916, according to Colorado State University researcher Phil Klotzbach.
Four hurricanes – Hannah, Laura, Sally and Teddy – have already hit the dangerous rapid intensification threshold this year, and Tropical Storm Gamma did so earlier this week.
This year has seen the second-most active Atlantic season on record after 2005, in which there were a total of 28 named storms.
Mr Lillo said 2020 is currently ‘outpacing that by a month’ and that there is a ‘good chance’ it will break the record.
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