Even as residents of the far western portions of the state prepare for Hurricane Delta's landfall this evening, residents in the Teche Area should be bracing for tropical storm force winds which will be in the area in a matter of hours.
According to the National Hurricane Center’s 10 a.m. advisory, the center of Hurricane Delta is still moving northward toward the southwest Louisiana coast and is expected to bring hurricane conditions and a life-threatening storm surge to portions of the northern Gulf Coast later today.
Current weather graphics from the NHC show tropical storm force winds hitting the Teche Area beginning about 2 p.m. Friday.
A storm surge warning is in effect from High Island Texas to the mouth of the Pearl River, including Calcasieu Lake, Vermilion Bay, and Lake Borgne. The storm surge in Vermilion Bay is expected to be between seven and 11 feet.
A hurricane warning is in effect from High Island Texas to Morgan City.
At 10 a.m., the center of Hurricane Delta was located near latitude 28.0 North, longitude 93.8 West. Delta is moving toward the north near 13 mph (20 km/h). A turn toward the north-northeast is expected this afternoon, followed by a northeastward motion during the day Saturday. On the forecast track, the center of Delta should make landfall along the coast of southwestern Louisiana later this afternoon or this evening, and then move across central and northeastern Louisiana tonight and Saturday morning.
Maximum sustained winds are near 115 mph (185 km/h) with higher gusts. Delta is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Slow weakening is expected before landfall, with rapid weakening expected after the center moves inland.
The hurricane’s track, which had been shifting eastward overnight, was pushed back to the west, moving the proposed course to come ashore near Cameron and move to the north-northeast, crossing I-10 between Iowa and Welsh.
That is just the eye of the storm, however. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 40 miles (65 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 160 miles (260 km). NOAA buoy 42019 located west of the center of Delta recently reported sustained winds of 49 mph (79 km/h) and a wind gust of 60 mph (97 km/h).
The latest minimum central pressure reported by a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft is 962 mb (28.41 inches).