Hurricane Delta Nears Louisiana

Hurricane Delta neared the coast of Louisiana on Friday morning.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Friday the center of Hurricane Delta was located at latitude 28.0°N and longitude 93.8°W which put it about 130 miles (215 km) south of Cameron, Louisiana.  Delta was moving toward the north at 13 m.p.h. (20 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 115 m.p.h. (185 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 135 m.p.h. (220 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 962 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from High Island, Texas to Morgan City, Louisiana.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the portions of the coast from Sargent to High Island Texas and from Morgan City, Louisiana to the Mouth of the Pearl River.  The Tropical Storm Warning included New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas.

Hurricane Delta started to weaken slowly on Friday morning as it moved into a less favorable environment.  An upper level trough over the south central U.S.  was producing southwesterly winds which were blowing toward the top of Delta.  Those winds were starting to increase the vertical wind shear.  They were also inhibiting upper level divergence to the south of the hurricane which was causing the surface pressure to increase.

Even though it was weakening, Hurricane Delta remained a formidable hurricane.  There was an eye with a diameter of 40 miles (65 km) at the center of Delta.  The eye was surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms revolving the core of Hurricane Delta were already dropping heavy rain over parts of southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana.

Winds to hurricane force extended out 40 miles (65 km) from the center of Hurricane Delta.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 160 miles (260 km) from the center of circulation.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Delta was 20.6.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 13.8 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 34.4.  Hurricane Delta was capable of causing regional major damage.

The upper level trough over the south central U.S. will steer Hurricane Delta toward the north-northeast during the next 12 to 24 hours.  On its anticipated track Delta will make landfall on the coast of Louisiana east of Cameron in a few hours.  Hurricane Delta will bring strong winds and heavy rain to parts of the area around Lake Charles that were affected by Hurricane Laura a few weeks ago.  Only temporary repairs have been made to numerous structures.  So, wind and rain damage will be greater than they would have been if all buildings were still intact.  Hurricane Delta will also cause a storm surge of 9 to 12 feet (3 to 4 meters) along the coast.  Locally heavy rain will cause flash floods in some locations.  Widespread power outages could also occur.

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