Tracking the Tropics: Major Hurricane Delta set to make landfall later today in Louisiana

Forecast

Tracking the Tropics

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Hurricane Delta is approaching the Gulf coast of Louisiana this morning as a major hurricane with winds of 120 miles per hour. The latest advisory from the NHC at 7 AM this morning showed a small change in the forecast track, shifting a bit to the east, but not enough to change the overall forecast.

Its forward speed is basically due north at 12 miles per hour. Conditions have already started to go downhill on the western LA coast, and will only get worse as the storm makes landfall later today. The hurricane is expected to weaken a bit before it comes ashore, but it will still travel over the same areas smacked by Hurricane Laura just six weeks ago. Storm surge flooding, torrential rain, damaging wind and a few tornadoes are all possible this afternoon and evening along most of the Louisiana coast, with the hardest hit areas near Lake Charles. 

Gulf Coast: The Alabama and Florida Gulf coasts will deal with some minor storm surge (1-3 feet) on Friday afternoon, some scattered showers and storms, with the small chance of a stronger storm, wind gusts of 35 mph and strong rip currents. These impacts will be minimal compared to the impacts from Sally a few weeks ago. 

Central Alabama: Impacts here from Delta will arrive as soon as this afternoon as scattered showers and a few storms move in from the south. Severe weather is not expected with this round of rain, but some thunder and heavy downpours will be. The first wave of rain and storms looks to move through by the evening with a little break in the action for Saturday morning. 

By tomorrow afternoon, we’ll be watching for feeder bands from Delta moving in from the Gulf of Mexico and pushing across the state. Embedded in these bands, a few rotating storms are possible with damaging winds and a tornado possible. The risk is still low, but will need to be monitored through tomorrow evening. 

All told, rainfall rates on the order of 6-10 inches are possible in southern Louisiana, 2-5 inches farther north into parts of Arkansas and Mississippi close to the Mississippi River, and 1-2 inches for us here in Alabama (not enough to cause flooding concerns). Some breeze is possible Saturday, but it looks like we’ll stay far enough away from the low pressure center to avoid strong winds.


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