Hurricane Delta is forecast to restrengthen in the Gulf of Mexico, having passed over the Yucatan Peninsula, and is tracking towards the central Gulf Coast on Thursday, October 8. According to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) at 07:00 (local time), Delta was located 685 km (425 mi) south of Cameron (Louisiana), tracking northwest at 24 kph (15 mph) and carrying maximum sustained winds of 155 kph (100 mph). The system is expected to strengthen further into a major Category 3 hurricane on Thursday night, before weakening slightly to a Category 2 as it approaches the Gulf Coast on Friday, October 9. Delta is presently forecast to make landfall in southwestern Louisiana late on Friday. The effects of the storm will be felt over a wide area as it makes landfall and moves over the Lower Mississippi Valley. As well as Louisiana, eastern Texas, southern Arkansas, and western Mississippi are also forecast to receive heavy rainfall. The governors of Alabama and Mississippi have already declared a state of emergency ahead of the approach of Delta and some parishes in Louisiana are under mandatory evacuation orders.
The NHC has issued the following watches and warnings ahead of Delta's approach:
- A Storm Surge Warning is in effect from Sabine Pass (Texas) to Ocean Springs (Mississippi)
- A Storm Surge Watch is in effect from High Island (Texas) to Sabine Pass
- A Hurricane Warning is in effect east of Sabine Pass to Morgan City (Louisiana)
- A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from San Luis Pass (Texas) to Sabine Pass, and for east of Morgan City to the mouth of the Pearl River, including New Orleans
- A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect east of the mouth of the Pearl River to Bay St. Louis (Mississippi)
A storm surge of up to 3.5 m (11 ft) is possible in the storm surge warning area and tropical storm force winds will begin to be felt in the hurricane warning area from early Friday, before strengthening to hurricane force in the afternoon. Up to 380 mm (15 in) of rainfall is possible in southwest and south central Louisiana and up to 250 mm (10 in) in east Texas, northern Louisiana, southern Arkansas, and western Mississippi. The rainfall could lead to flooding in affected areas and rough seas and strong winds will cause treacherous conditions along the coast. Associated disruptions to transport, business, and utilities are possible over the coming days as the storm system passes.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from late May through to the end of November, with activity typically peaking in late August and early September. Numerous tropical storms form in the Atlantic Ocean during this period, with most affecting the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the east coast of the United States. Although communities in the region are generally well prepared for adverse weather conditions during the hurricane season, severe storms bring a significant risk of flooding and infrastructural damage.
Those in the affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, avoid areas directly affected by flooding, confirm road conditions before setting out, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
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