The next 24 hours for Hurricane Delta will be important as it is moving onshore in Mexico this morning, and then re-emerging into the southern Gulf of Mexico and turning its sights to the Louisiana coastline.
Land interaction is always the wild card when it comes to tropical forecasting and once we get a sense of how the storm looks after it's encounter with the Yucatan we can really begin to iron out details as they relate to Louisiana.
The biggest news of the morning with regards to the storm is that it has weakened a good bit since the sun went down on Tuesday, with winds sitting around 115 mph it remains a strong, dangerous storm but that is down from where it was Tuesday.
Unfortunately as Delta moves back into the Gulf of Mexico it will find an environment favorable for strengthening and the current forecast calls for another ramp up to a Category 4 storm through the day on Thursday.
Strength and structure are important to how a storm moves so if there's going to be any major changes in direction it will be a result of an unexpected change as a result of its encounter with Mexico.
The chances of that occurring, however, seem to be fairly low as models have remained incredibly consistent over the last several days with only minor variations in the overall track and intensity of the storm.
Outside some variation in intensity the storm appears to be moving a little faster with landfall now expected during the day on Friday and conditions greatly improving by the time the sun rises on Saturday.
Biggest downside to that is it reduces the time to prepare for the storm, so preparations need to continue Wednesday and they need to be completed by Thursday, and with showers in the forecast Thursday the sooner all of that is completed the better.
Seas will be running higher over the next few days and tides will be coming up as early as Thursday, and tropical storm force winds will arrive on the coastline by Friday morning with conditions rapidly deteriorating through the day Friday.
Watches and warning will start to go up on Wednesday and once those are issued we can get a more specific idea of likely storm surge, but as an initial estimate expect 4-8 feet and be prepared for 8-15 feet around the center of the storm.
At this point all of Acadiana needs to be prepared for hurricane conditions on Friday with wind gusts pushing 45 to 70 mph across much of the area, and occasional gusts closer to 100-120 particularly along the coastline.
Wind and surge are going to be the biggest issues with this storm but rain can't be ignored along with the potential for flash flooding, areas around the center will be picking up around 6-10 inches of rain.
There will be some areas that likely receive higher numbers as models are pretty notorious for under estimating tropical rainfall, this could result in some flash flooding particularly for those low lying areas.
This is going to be an evolving situation and forecast details will certainly change, especially once we get a sense of how much damage the Yucatan will do to this storm.
Please stay on top of the forecast and take the storm seriously, KATC will be with you through out all of it and as we get in new information we'll pass it along immediately to you.
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