Monday, September 25, 2023

Hurricane Delta causes numerous school closures


Schools in many Louisiana parishes closed preemptively on Friday ahead of the landfall of Hurricane Delta, according to news reports.

Infrared satellite tracks Delta over the Gulf of Mexico. (Severe Weather Europe)

The storm made landfall as a Category 2 storm Friday evening, with maximum sustained winds of about 100 mph. Although those winds were less than those of Hurricane Laura, which made landfall about a dozen miles to the west on August 27, many Louisiana residents hadn’t yet finished making repairs.

The massive rainfall from Delta is almost certain to flood homes that haven’t finished making repairs from Laura’s Category 4 winds.

“Add Laura and Delta together and it’s just absolutely unprecedented and catastrophic,” quoted Lake Charles mayor Nic Hunter as saying. “We are very concerned that with everything going in the country right now, that this incident may not be on the radar nationally like it should be.”

Average rainfall in Hurricane Delta’s path was expected to be between 5 and 10 inches, with some local amounts being as high as 15 inches. This amount of rain was expected to cause significant urban, flash, and small stream flooding.

More than 350,000 Louisiana residents were without power Saturday, according to Power

Many schools, including those in Lafayette and Vermilion parishes, have already announced their buildings will be closed Monday, due to the widespread power outages caused by Hurricane Delta.

“We need to make sure campuses are fully functional and safe for students to return and cannot do that until we complete our assessments with power,” the Daily Advertiser quoted Allison Dickerson, public information officer for the Lafayette school system, as saying.

“Everything else later in the week is going to be dependent on electricity coming back on, making sure our facilities are safe—we did have some structural things at some of schools—making sure all our campuses are safe and secure for our students and teachers,” Vermilion Parish Schools Superintendent Tommy Byler said, adding that extensive damage to school buildings from Delta will force the district to keep schools closed through at least Tuesday.

Delta was the 10th hurricane to make landfall in the US this season, setting a new record for the number of storms. As it passed over the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, it was able to pick up warm waters over the Gulf of Mexico, temporarily becoming a Category 4 storm over the water. But cooler waters near the coast tamed its winds somewhat.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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