UPDATE: As of 10:00 pm: Delta is a strengthening hurricane with 80mph winds and is expected to continue to intensify to a major hurricane within the next 24 hours.
While Acadiana's local weather pattern will remain quiet over the next couple of days, all eyes are going to be on Tropical Storm Delta that is expected to become a major hurricane prior to reaching the Gulf of Mexico Wednesday with the storm likely to bring impacts to Louisiana by the end of the week.
Tropical Storm Delta's winds were increased to 70 mph Monday afternoon after Hurricane Hunters found a much more organized storm with significantly lower pressure than anticipated.
The storm is currently forecast to undergo a rapid intensification cycle over the next 36 to 48 hours and become a major hurricane in the southern Gulf of Mexico Wednesday afternoon. The current NHC forecast maxes Delta out with 120 mph winds but a higher wind and category ceiling is certainly possible.
Currently the storm is being guided mostly westward by a ridge of high pressure in the Atlantic.
An upper trough developing over Texas mid-late week along with the remnant circulation of Tropical Depression Delta is expected to then allow Delta to turn northwesterly Wednesday.
Upper level winds are expected to increase from the southwest prior Friday hopefully weakening the storm while pushing it toward the northeast.
This system will be traversing the warmest waters of the Caribbean and Southeast Gulf with a favorable pattern of intensification through the next 48 hours...thereafter increasing shear and cooler Northern Gulf shelf waters should allow the system to weaken prior to landfall, but by how much and at what intensities remains unknown.
The bottom line: given the consistent models and forecast tracks indicate that Louisiana could be impacted by high winds and and a significant storm surge by Friday.
Delta at landfall will likely be a lopsided system with most of the heavy rainfall, damaging winds and a significant storm surge near and east of the center, which could be anywhere from the Acadiana Coast eastward to the Florida Panhandle.
If the forecast track does not change appreciably a Hurricane Watch may be posted for portions of Louisiana Coast as early as Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, either from Intracoastal City or Morgan City on eastward.
It should be noted that forecast tracks 4-5 days out can be off by up to 200 miles while forecast intensity error 24 hours out is roughly one hurricane category.
Hopefully major impacts don't come to Acadiana, but it is certainly possible and it would be prudent to have hurricane preparations in place by no later than Thursday.
In the near term, Acadiana's weather pattern should remain quite nice Tuesday, with high clouds increasing Wednesday with some tropical showers Thursday followed by some sort of rain and wind "event" Friday.
See the KATC 10 Day forecast for the latest and stay with KATC, katc.com and social media for further updates.
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