Hurricane Delta made landfall in Louisiana as a Category 2 storm on Friday evening, packing sustained winds of 100 miles per hour (161 kilometers per hour).
The storm weakened to Category 1 an hour later as it moved inland along the southwestern coast.
According to the forecast by the US National Weather Service, Delta is likely to weaken to a tropical storm by Saturday morning.
"Delta is expected to become a remnant low in Kentucky and dissipate Monday afternoon," it said. "In its wake, weak high pressure will build across the area into early next week. Swell from Delta will spread across the Gulf into the weekend."
Second hurricane in six weeks
The region is still recovering from Hurricane Laura, a powerful storm that hit in late August with 150 mile-per-hour winds leaving behind widespread damage and killing at least 27 people.
"In this community, there are a lot of homes that were damaged and so a lot of people are concerned about staying in that structure again," said Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter.
Laura damaged about 95% of the homes and buildings in Lake Charles, and up to 8,000 residents continue to live in temporary housing.
Tens of thousands of people have fled in advance of Delta, and The Associated Press reported that the streets of Lake Charles were empty Friday morning as the first tropical storm-force winds began.
"We just got lights back on like two weeks ago and then evacuating again? It's extremely hard,'' a Lake Charles resident said as she awaited evacuation.
The effects of Delta were felt as far as the Galveston Island in Texas, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) west of where the hurricane made landfall. Schools and colleges canceled classes on Friday in the coastal Texas counties.
Hurricane Delta is the 10th named storm to hit the continental US this year, breaking a century-old record.
wmr, adi/dj (AP, Reuters)