10 P.M. CDT Thursday–Hurricane Delta continues to strengthen in the Western Gulf of Mexico, now once again a major category 3 hurricane storm with 120 mph winds. Moving NNW at 12 mph. The minimum central pressure has steadily dropped since yesterday, now down to 955mb, meaning Delta has slowly gained strength after entering the Gulf early yesterday morning.
Forecast models have honed in on the Southwestern Louisiana coast for a potential landfall location Friday afternoon. Looking at the map, this may seem like a familiar spot…that’s because Hurricane Laura went over almost the exact same place in late August. Something similar happened with Hurricanes Francis and Jeanne in 2005 as they made landfall three weeks apart in places separated by just about two miles along the east Florida coast.
Coastal Areas: Storm surge, freshwater flooding, heavy rain, damaging wind and tornadoes are imminent all across the Louisiana coast Friday late morning through the evening as Delta moves toward the coast then inland. For Alabama beaches, we’re expecting minor storm surge (on the order of 1-3 feet), the possibility for some thunderstorms and heavy rain, and strong rip currents. This will not be a repeat of Hurricane Sally a few weeks ago, but it won’t exactly be a “day at the beach” either.
Central Alabama: Impacts from Delta will be seen here by Friday with scattered to widespread showers and a few thunderstorms. There is currently a Marginal Risk (1 out of 5) for these storms to turn severe across much of Mississippi & Alabama, with the primary hazard being brief damaging winds & isolated tornadoes. While the current forecast parameters for Saturday don’t look TOO supportive for tornadoes, we can’t completely rule out spin-up tornadoes developing over West Alabama during the Saturday, as Delta makes its closest approach to our West in Mississippi.
It will be tough to nail down specific times and areas to be impacted until we get to Saturday morning. A lot of our storm and severe weather risk will be tied to the exact path and structure of Delta, and we just won’t know that until the day of. We want everyone to be ready for the potential of a few strong storms Saturday afternoon.
The heaviest rainfall is expected to stay West of us as well. Through Sunday, we’re looking at roughly 1-2″ of rain across Central Alabama. Farther West across much of the MS Delta, rainfall totals will be much higher–on the order of 4-8″, some spots seeing as much as 12″ near places like Monroe & Lake Charles, LA.
Weather will slowly improve around Central AL by Sunday, but some rain in the morning and early afternoon is likely. Some clearing will take place Sunday night, but drier weather returns Monday, with more fall weather back by Tuesday and Wednesday.