Hurricane Delta Makes Landfall Near Texas-Louisiana Border

Hurricane Delta
Hurricane Delta makes landfall (NOAA / National Hurricane Center)

Published Oct 9, 2020 10:07 PM by The Maritime Executive

Hurricane Delta made landfall in Louisiana on Friday night, coming ashore just east of Calcasieu Lake at the small town of Creole. The storm's sustained winds weakened slightly to 90 knots before it made landfall, and intensity fell off further as it moved inland. 

According to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), 274 production platforms were evacuated in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico prior to the storm's arrival. These shut-ins took about 92 percent of the region's offshore oil capacity offline - a near-total production shutdown. Drilling rigs were similarly affected: 14 out of 17 active DP rigs had to move off-site to escape the storm, and seven out of 10 non-DP rigs were evacuated. 

Regional ports also shut down in advance of the storm. Port Athur, Beaumont, Orange, Sabine, and Lake Charles have all closed by order of the Captain of the Port, except for emergency purposes. At the Port of New Orleans - outside of the storm's direct path - containerized cargo and breakbulk operations shut down for Friday as a precautionary measure, and limitations on traffic within the area's canals are in effect. The Port of South Louisiana has not announced closures. 

U.S. Coast Guard responds to three grounded boats in Gilchrist, Texas as Hurricane Delta approaches, October 9 (USCG)

The area near the Lousiana-Texas border is already working to recover from the effects of Hurricane Laura, which came ashore as a Category 4 storm near Cameron and devastated the city of Lake Charles, Louisiana. More than 90 percent of all buildings in the city sustained some level of damage in Hurricane Laura, and storm chaser video from the time of Delta's landfall showed high winds and heavy rains affecting the area for a second time. “It’s devastating and it’s emotional for the citizenry,” Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter told Fox News.

With its arrival, Hurricane Delta set a new record as the 10th hurricane or tropical storm to make landfall in the United States in one year. It is also the sixth named storm to threaten Lousiana this season and the fourth to make landfall, a tie with the record set in 2002. Depending upon its impact, it may become the 17th weather/climate-related disaster to cause $1 billion or more in damage in the United States this year, setting a new record.