Storm-weary coastal Louisiana residents who fled Hurricane Delta are streaming back to homes to face cleanup and repairs from the second such disaster to batter their state in six weeks.
Many returned to find Delta, dissipating substantially as it drifted farther inland on Sunday, had ripped away temporary tarpaulin roofs installed over their homes in late August after Hurricane Laura, a more powerful storm, struck with devastating force.
Delta, the 10th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season to make US landfall, churned ashore on Friday evening near the southwestern Louisiana town of Creole.
It was a Category 2 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson intensity scale, packing maximum sustained winds of 160 km/h.
By Sunday, the storm had been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone over the southern Appalachians but still posed a heavy rainfall threat, the US National Hurricane Center said.
Energy workers headed back to offshore oil and gas platforms in the northern Gulf of Mexico to restart production largely halted as Delta barreled into the region, with 91 per cent of crude oil output remaining off-line on Sunday.
Governor John Bel Edwards reported the first storm-related death from Delta, an 86-year-old man killed by a fire that started from the refuelling of a generator.
"If you are using a generator, please be safe," Edwards warned on Twitter, noting that most deaths from Hurricane Laura stemmed from improper usage of such equipment.
Delta knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and businesses but electricity had been restored by Sunday to about half those customers, Edwards said.
The outages appeared to be a factor in the pace of evacuees returning home.
As of Sunday morning, more than 9100 Louisianans were still in emergency shelters or other temporary housing, most of them in hotels or at a "mega" shelter set up in the city of Alexandria.
The misery index for returning evacuees was compounded by extreme heat and humidity engulfing southern Louisiana following Delta, and the discovery of property damage made worse by the latest storm.
Lake Charles resident Gerard Meschwitz, 62, who fled to Houston last week, came home on Sunday morning to find Delta's winds had torn apart some sections of his roof left intact by Laura.
Others braved the hurricane at home only to decide after it passed the sweltering weather was too much to bear without air conditioning or a fan.
Australian Associated Press
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