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The Latest: Delta downgraded but still causing damage

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Latest on Hurricane Delta (all times CDT):

1 a.m.

MIAMI — Delta has been downgraded from a once powerful hurricane to a tropical storm as it moves inland across the U.S. South.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Delta came ashore Friday evening in southwest Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane but quickly weakened and has become a tropical storm as it moves inland. By Saturday morning, it had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph).

Forecasters say the storm is moving to the north-northeast on a track across central and north Louisiana that is expected to continue through Saturday morning.

The system is expected to become a tropical depression later Saturday as it moves across northern Mississippi into the Tennessee Valley.

Power outages in Louisiana and neighboring Texas neared 600,000 homes and businesses early Saturday, according to the tracking website PowerOutage.us. Almost 40,000 outages were reported in Mississippi.

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9:45 p.m.

Forecasters say Delta remains barely a hurricane with top sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph).

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Delta is moving further inland over southwestern Louisiana as a weak Category 1 hurricane. Approaching 10 p.m. CDT Friday, the storm was located about 70 miles (110 kilometers) northeast of Cameron, Louisiana. It is moving to the north-northeast at 15 mph (24 kph).

The storm is expected to continue rapid weakening and be downgraded to a tropical storm in coming hours.

It’s expected to continue moving over central and north Louisiana in coming hours. After that, the system is forecast to move across northern Mississippi and into the Tennessee Valley.

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9:30 p.m.

Hurricane Delta cut through parts of Louisiana’s Acadiana region — a unique part of the state named after the French emigrants kicked out of Nova Scotia hundreds of years ago who eventually settled in south Louisiana.

It’s a region where food — even in a hurricane — is important.

That was evident when reporter Gerald Gruenig with KLFY television was out reporting on the storm Friday night. Gruenig hosts a weekly segment called Acadiana Eats. He was interviewing a man driving in the town of Abbeville about the weather when conversation turned to food.

“Ya’ll cooking tonight?” Gruenig asked.

“I got some fresh rabbit,” the man answered before driving away with Gruenig calling after him to be careful.

”That’s what a hurricane smells like, roux baby,” Gruenig said, referring to the savory fat-and-flour sauce popular in the region.

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9 p.m.

Wind and rain from Delta also pummeled the Louisiana city of Lafayette, further east from where the hurricane came ashore, and one apartment owner described it as “pretty scary."

Jeanne-Marie Gove could hear debris hitting her front door and her patio gate banging open and shut. She lives in an apartment in Lafayette, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) east of Lake Charles closer to the hurricane's center.

The National Hurricane Center said strong winds were spreading inland across Louisiana at 9 p.m. CDT Friday as Delta still had top sustained winds of 80 mph (128 kph).

“The wind is much worse than what Hurricane Laura brought,” Gove said in a message on Twitter, referring to the storm that battered southwest Louisiana six weeks ago. The roof from a trailer at the mobile home park behind Gove's apartment was torn off and tossed down the sidewalk. Power was out for many residents.

Meanwhile, some 400,000 customers were reported without power in Louisiana and southeastern Texas.

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8:15 p.m.

Hurricane Delta is driving further inland as strong winds continue to hammer the southwest Louisiana coast.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Delta was centered at 8 p.m. CDT about 20 miles (35 kilometers) east-northeast of Lake Charles, the main city in the region. Maximum sustained winds have dropped to 85 mph (140 kph) and forecasters say Delta is expected to weaken to a tropical storm in coming hours as it heads deeper into the South.

The hurricane center warns heavy rainfall remains a threat in parts of Louisiana through Saturday as the storm crosses the state. It says that could lead to major river flooding. Additional flooding is possible elsewhere this weekend around the central Gulf Coast and lower Mississippi Valley, according to the forecast.

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7:50 p.m.

LAKE CHARLES, La. — The mayor of Lake Charles in southwest Louisiana says tarps that were put up to protect buildings damaged six weeks ago by Hurricane Laura are now flying off in Hurricane Delta's strong winds.

Mayor Nic Hunter told The Associated Press tarps were being ripped away from rooftops. He was hunkered down in a secure location in downtown Lake Charles.

“Tarps are being blown off all throughout the city,” Hunter said by phone after Delta made landfall Friday evening as a Category 2 hurricane.

He added: “I’m in a building right now with a tarp on it and just the sound of the tarp flapping on the building sounds like someone pounding with a sledge hammer on top of the building. It's pretty intense."

He said piles of unsecured debris from Laura are also being tossed about in Delta's high winds. He said some of the debris was moving into the streets and floating in water.

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7:45 p.m.

LAKE ARTHUR, La. — Hurricane Delta's winds are so strong they are pulling away shingles from L'Banca Albergo Hotel, an eight-room boutique hotel in the Louisiana town of Lake Arthur.

“I probably don’t have a shingle left on the top of this hotel,” said owner Roberta Palermo. She said the electricity was out and, across the street, she could see pieces of metal coming off the roof of a 100-year-old building. Unsecured trash cans were flying around on the streets.

Palermo is a long-time Louisiana resident who has grown up with hurricanes. “It’s been a long time since I’ve ridden one out. I don’t think I’ve ever been in one like this,” she said. “I think my building is pretty safe but it’s intense, for sure.”

One of her guests was Johnny Weaver, a meteorology student from San Francisco State University. He was living at home in Tampa, Florida, while studying online and decided to travel to the region to see and study the storm firsthand.

“There is a lot of power lines down all over the place, there’s ... really deep water in certain spots,” he said from the hotel’s front porch, adding, ‘’there is just shingles flying everywhere."

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7:30 p.m.

GALVESTON, Texas -- The effects of Hurricane Delta were felt as far west as Galveston, Texas, where winds gusts toppled two houses under construction.

Galvestan is about 100 miles (160 kilometers) from where Delta made landfall on the southwest Louisiana coast Friday evening.

A spokeswoman for Sullivan Brothers Builders told The (Galveston) Daily News that the houses were in their early framing stages and still lacked windstorm construction reinforcements. Elizabeth Rogers-Alvarado said there were no injuries.

Trees and signs were toppled around the region.

And beach dunes flattened by Hurricane Laura in August and Tropical Storm Beta last month allowed storm surge to reach beneath the raised beach houses in Galveston’s West End. Thousands of customers lost electric power and Centerpoint Energy estimated many will remain blacked out until after midnight.

Large swells and rip currents prompted officials to close some Texas beaches as far west as Corpus Christi and the mouth of the Rio Grande. Padre Island beaches remained open.

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7 p.m.

Hurricane Delta has weakened to a Category 1 storm as it moves inland along Louisiana’s southwestern coast.

Delta made landfall as a Category 2 storm about 6 p.m. Friday near Creole, with top winds of 100 mph (155 km/h). An hour later, its wind speed had dropped to 90 mph (145 km/h).

The storm was about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west-southwest of the town of Jennings and moving north-northeast at 14 mph (22 km/h).

Delta blew ashore in an area where devastation remains widely evident from Hurricane Laura, which caused at least 27 deaths in late August.

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6 p.m.

Hurricane Delta has made landfall as a Category 2 storm in southwestern Louisiana.

The center of the storm hit land at 6 p.m. Friday near Creole, with top winds of 100 mph (155 km/h).

Delta blew ashore in an area where devastation remains widely evident from Hurricane Laura, which caused at least 27 deaths in late August. Piles of wreckage could go flying and many homes remain unrepaired, with only blue tarps on rooftops to withstand the fury of yet another hurricane.

Delta is the 10th named storm to hit the continental United State this year, breaking a century-old record.

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The above item has been updated to correct that Delta’s maximum winds were 100 mph at landfall.

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4 p.m.

MIAMI — Forecasters expect Hurricane Delta to make landfall in southwest Louisiana in the next few hours.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says in its latest advisory Friday that Delta is about 35 miles (55 kilometers) south of Cameron, Louisiana, and is moving north-northeast at 14 mph (22 km/h). The Category 2 hurricane has maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (165 km/h).

The Hurricane Center expects Delta to continue along the same path until Saturday morning and then move to the northeast. The center says some weakening is possible before landfall, with rapid weakening after landfall.

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1 p.m.

MIAMI — Forecasters say Hurricane Delta has continued to weaken and is now a strong Category 2 storm.

In its latest update Friday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center said Delta has winds of 110 mph (175 kph). Forecasters have said they expect the weakening trend to continue until Delta makes landfall along the U.S. Gulf Coast, but they caution that it remains a dangerous storm.

Delta is expected to make landfall Friday evening and could strike in the same general area in southwest Louisiana as Hurricane Laura did in late August.

Delta is about 80 miles (130 kilometers) south-southwest of Cameron, Louisiana, the Hurricane Center said.

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11:10 a.m.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says the Federal Emergency Management Agency is prepared as Hurricane Delta churns toward the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Trump tweeted Friday that he'd been briefed on Delta and said FEMA “is there and ready!!!”

Delta is expected to make landfall Friday evening and could strike in the same general area in southwest Louisiana as Hurricane Laura did in late August.

In its latest advisory late Friday morning, the National Hurricane Center says Delta was about 130 miles south-southwest of Cameron, Louisiana. The storm had sustained winds of 115 mph (185 kph), making it a Category 3 hurricane.

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10:15 a.m.

MIAMI — Forecasters say Hurricane Delta has weakened slightly, but remains a Category 3 storm.

On Friday morning, Delta had maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 kph), down from 120 mph (195 kph) a few hours earlier. The National Hurricane Center in Miami says the hurricane is expected to continue a weakening trend until it makes landfall along the U.S. Gulf Coast, but is still a dangerous storm.

Delta is expected to make landfall Friday evening and could strike in the same general area as Hurricane Laura did in late August.

In its latest advisory, the Hurricane Center says Delta is about 130 miles (205 kilometers) south-southwest of Cameron, Louisiana. It is moving north at 13 mph (20 kph).

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10 a.m.

LAKE CHARLES, La. — Everywhere in Lake Charles, Louisiana, there are remnants of Hurricane Laura. Blue tarps cover roofs all over the city.

Piles of garbage are neatly lined up along every roadway in a sign of how much cleaning was being done after Laura.

Mattresses and box springs, air-conditioning duct work, vinyl siding, and cut-up logs and branches are all piled up at curbs.

But officials have worried that all of it could turn into projectiles once Hurricane Delta’s winds kick up. Delta is expected to make landfall late Friday and could strike in the same general area as Laura did on Aug. 27.

Already Friday morning, rain is continuing and water is pooling along many debris-lined streets in Lake Charles — hours ahead of Delta’s arrival.

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