Today is the last day to complete your storm preparations.
Hurricane Delta is back out in the Gulf of Mexico in a favorable area for development which means we will see Delta strengthen over the next 24 hour prior to landfall, which is expected sometime Friday afternoon/evening.
Already a strong Category 2 storm Delta will likely regain major hurricane status by the end of the day Thursday before it begins to encounter some slightly cooler water and slightly higher wind shear.
Unfortunately neither of those two factors will be able to have a big enough impact to prevent the storm from making landfall as a strong Category 2, borderline Category 3, storm (keep in mind the intensity forecast is always difficult and could result in a swing either up or down of about a full category).
Hurricane Warnings have been issued for all of Acadiana, and all of Acadiana is expected to see hurricane conditions through the afternoon on Friday with winds and surge the two major issues we're facing with this storm.
Tropical storm force winds will arrive along the coast as early as Friday around sunrise and spread northwards through the day, the onset of hurricane winds will be closer to mid day along the coast and peaking in intensity during the evening hours.
Tides will begin to come up as early as Thursday night with the surge increasing through the day on Friday, and most coastal areas are under a mandatory evacuation, with the highest storm surge totals east of the center.
Along the Vermilion Bay the surge is expected to be around 7-11 feet, with a range of 4-7 feet likely from Pecan Island westward into Cameron Parish, keep in mind surge may push as high as 10 miles inland.
Residents who are under a mandatory evacuation should heed the order and those who decide to stay should remember that rescue crews will not be able to go out during the storm and it may take a significant amount of time for services to return to the coast.
At landfall winds along and just east of the center will be sustained at about 105 mph putting it on the verge of Category 3 strength, but the wind gusts will be a little more extreme with gusts along the coast possibly getting as high as 110-120 mph.
Even areas as far north as the interstate may see wind gusts top 100 mph, to put this into perspective Lafayette saw gusts around 70 mph during Laura earlier this year, so for many areas in Acadiana this will be worse than what we experienced during Laura (although not as strong as Laura's winds in Lake Charles).
This can still cause significant damage and those who stay will want to make sure you have an area in the house that has a room with interior walls and away from windows to ride out this storm, as debris will likely be moving through the air.
There's going to obviously be a tremendous amount of rain with this system but the threat of flash flooding with this system won't be the primary threat, that being said rain totals will likely be around 4-8" with the highest amounts close to the center pushing around a foot.
Since the storm is moving quickly we shouldn't see water piling up too much although low lying areas will still see water pooling up along roadways as well as some of the local waterways.
It should go without saying to not be out on the roads during this storm, which is why we are urging everyone to be in place by the end of the day today.
It seems surreal that we are going through this process again, but alas here we are, and even having plenty of practice at this point anxiety and stress is still running (with good reason) very high.
So it seems like a moment to remind everyone not to panic, as a community we will get through another one of these storms.
We'll lean on each other and lean on our experiences already this year, and with proper planning and taking the right precautions we'll come out on the other side.
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.
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