BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Natchitoches and Sabine Parish are among six parishes added to the list of those authorized for Category B for emergency protective measures ahead of Hurricane Delta, which weakened slightly to a Category 2 storm early Friday afternoon as it approached the coast of Louisiana.
Vernon, LaSalle, Grant, and Winn were also added to the list, Gov. John Bel Edwards said during a Friday afternoon briefing.
Delta is expected to make landfall between 7 and 9 p.m. Friday and could strike in the same general area in southwest Louisiana as Hurricane Laura did in late August. In spite of the storm weakening, Edwards urged continued awareness and vigilance.
“The fact that it’s weakening should not cause anyone to lose focus or to lose vigilance, because this is still a very strong storm and it’s going to bring very significant impacts to the state of Louisiana,” including sustained winds of 74 with guests up to 100 mph likely between Lake Charles and Lafayette to points south of Alexandria.
Edwards said 800 of the more than 9,500 evacuees sheltered in Louisiana and Texas, 800 are evacuated because of Hurricane Delta. The rest are still out of their homes because of Hurricane Laura. Most of them are at the megashelter in Alexandria, but he said additional evacuees will have to be moved to other shelters further north because of COVID-19 restrictions that limit capacity there to 833. The governor said they would go first to Bastrop and then, if needed, to the Jewella shelter in Shreveport.
The DOTD assisted in transporting more than 500 evacuees by bus, 21 busloads, to Alexandria on Thursday evening. Most of them were from Calcasieu Parish.
Edwards said they believe a number of evacuees will be able to return home tomorrow, however. Those who cannot will be moved to hotels as quickly as possible.
The tropical storm system is expected to move out of the state over the following 14 hours.