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Governor concerned over potentially 'devastating' Hurricane Delta hit to southwest Louisiana

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HOUSTON (Reuters) - Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said he is worried that Hurricane Delta, which is gathering strength to impact the central U.S. Gulf Coast, may drift west to hit areas heavily damaged by Hurricane Laura in late August.

“If this hurricane comes into southwest Louisiana on a track that is similar to Laura it will be very devastating,” Edwards said during a Wednesday afternoon news conference from the State Capitol in Baton Rouge.

Laura was the first category 4 hurricane - packing winds of at least 130 miles per hour (209 kmh) - to slam into southwest Louisiana.

Edwards said he requested a pre-landfall disaster declaration from the White House and received a phone call from President Donald Trump.

“He called and said he would be doing that,” Edwards said.

A disaster declaration sends several federal agencies to help with recovery efforts and enables residents in a disaster area to access federal programs to help with rebuilding.

Edwards warned residents across the state to prepared for severe weather. He noted that in September, Hurricane Sally was supposed to strike the western part of the Louisiana but instead made landfall to the east in Alabama.

Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Chris Reese and Bill Berkrot