BATON ROUGE, La. — Gov. John Bel Edwards will held a press conference Tuesday on the state's response to Hurricane Delta and preparations that are being made ahead of the storm making landfall later this week.
"Prepare for the worst, but pray for the best," Edwards said.
Delta has rapidly intensified in the last 16-20 hours as it has been upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane as it approaches the Yucatan Peninsula Tuesday on its way for the Gulf of Mexico.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Delta continued to strengthen Tuesday afternoon with 145 mph winds as of the 4 p.m. advisory Tuesday.
Edwards said the storm is expected to remain as a hurricane as it makes landfall in Louisiana either Friday night or Saturday morning.
The governor warned that the storm could bring damaging winds, storm surge and heavy rain - either from flash flooding or river flooding. He also said that the later in the year that a hurricane hits the more likely it will spawn tornadoes.
Edwards also emphasized that no one should remain focused on the track of the storm or the center line as the hurricane is expected to hit Louisiana.
Ben Shot with the National Weather Service in New Orleans said that residents should not worry about which category Delta is going to be because it is going to be a major hurricane and its effects will be significant for Louisiana.
He said that the state coastline will see significant impacts and anyone living along the coast without elevated homes can expect storm surge that could potentially overtake their buildings.
Shot said that the one "saving grace" about Delta is that it may be moving fairly quickly, so rainfall may be limited. However, rain bands could still possibly cause flooding particularly on the eastern side of the storm that could represent a significant thret to health and property.
He said that Delta will have a northwest track that will continue into the central gulf before turning more northward later in the week.
Sustained tropical storm force winds could arrive at the coast as early as Friday morning and the whole Louisiana coastline is in play with chances extending from 50 - 90%.
The storm's total rainfall forecast is valid from Wednesday night to Saturday night with most rain occurring locally Thursday to Friday night.
Shot said that generally, 4 - 6 inches of rain is forecast across the area but that local amounts could be significantly higher.
He said that NWS would have a better feel for the storm in the next 24-36 hours.
Edwards said that much of the work that has been done across the state for several of the storms that have come through already remains in place.
He said that decisions are being made with himself and local officials about voluntary and possibly mandatory evacuations that will be announced over the next few days.
For the latest from the KATC Weather Team: katc.com/weather.
The latest track information has the storm making landfall somewhere along the Louisiana coast between Grand Isle and Cameron Parish overnight Friday, October 9 as a Category 2.
The National Hurricane Center says that there is an increased likelihood of life-threatening storm surge and dangerous hurricane force winds along the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast on Friday.
Residents in these areas are encouraged to ensure they have a hurricane plan in place.
You can watch the governor's full briefing from Tuesday below:
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