UPDATE: Since the 10 am update, Hurricane Delta is now a major Category 4 storm.
Hurricane Delta spent the last 24 hours intensifying and is now a strong Category 2 storm. The storm is currently sitting in an area with incredibly warm water and low wind shear, so this period of rapid intensification will likely continue through the day.
The forecast now calls for Delta to reach Category 4 strength before hitting the Yucatan Peninsula in the next 24 hours and re-intensifying as it pushes into the southern Gulf of Mexico, this is the biggest change in the official forecast track from the National Hurricane Center.
While the forecast does call for weakening as it approaches (more on that a little later), don't let your guard down. The forecast still calls for a major hurricane at landfall late Friday night/early Saturday morning.
This is consistent with the model trend we've been seeing over the last day or so with almost every major model coming in a little stronger than it was this time Monday, and based off the last 24 hours we're certainly seeing that play out in real life.
Landfall now expected close to the Terrebonne and St. Mary Parish border with winds greater than 115 mph near the center of the storm during the pre-dawn hours of Saturday morning.
It's still tough to call for overly specific impacts since they're so dependent on the location of the center of the storm, but it is safe to say that weather will greatly deteriorate later this week with wind and surge a major issue along the coast.
Surge can probably be estimated to be between 6-14 feet based on the current forecast, but those numbers can easily (and probably will) fluctuate over the next couple of days, either way you're looking at some significant coastal flooding.
This storm is moving pretty quickly, and will be at landfall, so the rain totals will be between 5-10" close to the center of the storm with 2-4" in the outer bands and keep in mind tropical showers are often underestimated.
If there is a silver lining with this storm (and it's a very faint silver lining), is that the storm should stay fairly compact which means there's not going to be a very widespread wind field, that being said, winds around the center will be able to cause significant damage.
That being said wind gusts for most of Acadiana will sit in the 45-70 mph range which will be strong enough to knock down trees and blow around loose debris which could lead to some damage, and again the closer you get to the center the worse the winds will get.
It can't be stressed enough that the specific impacts may change over the week and it will be important to stay on top of this forecast through the week, remember that small changes in the track can have major effects on those impacts.
Those with property along the coast will want to begin the storm preparation process and have it wrapped up by the middle of the week, Thursday afternoon at the latest as tropical storm force winds will arrive along the coastline by early Friday morning.
As always this forecast is going to constantly evolve and it will be important to keep up with all the changes, as those changes arrive we will get them out to you and remember that KATC will be with you before, during, and after the storm.
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.
To reach the newsroom or report a typo/correction, click HERE.
Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox. Select from these options: Breaking News, Evening News Headlines, Latest COVID-19 Headlines, Morning News Headlines, Special Offers