Louisiana officials have confirmed the first fatality connected to Hurricane Delta after the storm made landfall in the state on Friday night.
In a press briefing on Sunday, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that an 86-year-old man in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, died while refueling a generator in his shed. According to Edwards, the generator is believed to have not cooled down fully before the victim went to refuel it, sparking a deadly fire.
This is the second major hurricane to hit the Gulf Coast area in a matter of months. Hurricane Laura devastated the area in August, with accidental generator-related deaths accounting for nearly half of all deaths linked to that storm.
Providing tips about using generators amid the natural disaster, Edwards tweeted: "I want to remind everyone to handle generators with extreme caution. Keep it outside, 20 feet away from the house and away from any openings. Please make sure that it is completely cooled off before you refuel and kept dry. Please be safe."
Delta made landfall in southwest Louisiana as a Category 2 storm on Friday evening, before weakening to a tropical depression as it moved through the Gulf area on Saturday. By Saturday morning, over 700,000 customers were without power in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi, according to poweroutage.us, with the bulk of the outages coming from Louisiana.
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Delta first made landfall near the town of Creole, which is about 15 miles from where Hurricane Laura previously hit. The area is still recovering from Laura, which killed at least 26 people and led to extensive damage along Louisiana’s coast, particularly in Lake Charles and Sulphur.
Photos of the damage from Delta show heavily flooded roads, downed trees and power lines, and windows blown out from the high winds. Louisiana State Sen. Ronnie Johns said on Saturday that Delta is “worse than we even thought (in Lake Charles and Sulphur) again,” according to USA Today.
“We're getting tore up again,” he said. “It's disheartening, but we'll be OK.”
“Delta has left hazards like flooded roads, downed power lines and displaced wildlife in our communities that no one should take lightly,” Edwards wrote in a tweet on Saturday. “Everyone needs to remain vigilant, continue to listen to local officials and be safe.”
Prior to the hurricane making landfall, Edwards noted that the state was “still trying to recover” from Laura.
“It is very clear that Southwest Louisiana is going to get more of a punch from this than we would like to see, for sure, because we're still trying to recover from Hurricane Laura,” he said in a Thursday briefing, according to CBS News.
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