Louisiana prepared for worst from Hurricane Delta -Governor

Oct 9 (Reuters) - Louisiana has opened shelters, called up the state’s national guard, and pre-positioned supplies to prepare for a strike from powerful Hurricane Delta, Governor John Bel Edwards said on Friday.

There are 2,500 National Guard members and 450 FEMA personnel called for response operations, and emergency food, water and generators stockpiled and ready to distribute once the storm passes, officials said at a briefing on Friday.

Delta will be the second hurricane in less than two months to smash into the state. The last storm, Hurricane Laura, caused devastation to Louisiana’s southwest corner.

Delta is forecast to hit the coast Friday evening with heavy rains, a “life-threatening” storm surge and maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour (177 kmh), forecasters said.

“Let’s prepare for the worst and certainly pray for the best and be good neighbors to one another,” Edwards said at a news conference in Baton Rouge.

More than 8,000 of the state’s citizens remain in temporary housing from Hurricane Laura, which hit the coast in late August, Edwards said. Tens of thousands of others have fled the advance of Delta.

A mass shelter set up in Alexandria, which is about 150 miles from the coast, has reached its full, 800 person capacity because of COVID-19 restrictions, he said. Some people were continuing to leave the area, he said.

“Everyone in the storm’s path needs to shelter in place,” Edwards advised. “We know the people in Louisiana and southwest Louisiana are tough and faithful and we’re going to get through this.” (Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by David Gregorio)