Governors of states lying along the United States’ Gulf Coast have urged residents to take precautions in advance of Hurricane Delta’s expected arrival in the hard-hit region.
Hurricane Delta made landfall Wednesday morning along the northeastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour. Delta is expected to make a second landfall along the already hard-hit U.S. Gulf Coast, which is still reeling from damage caused by Hurricanes Laura and Sally, later this week.
Gov. John Bel Edwards, D-La., urged residents of his state to take the storm seriously. “We have seen an active hurricane season already, with a devastating hit in Southwest Louisiana from Hurricane #Laura. It would be a mistake for anyone in Louisiana to let down their guard,” he said.
Gov. Kay Ivey, R-Ala., asked the residents of her state to “secure your boats and other personal property,” stressing that “we are still cleaning up from #Sally and want everyone to be as safe as possible with more bad weather headed our way.”
On Wednesday afternoon, President Donald Trump sent out a tweet urging those in the path of Hurricane Delta to “heed the directions of your State and Local Officials.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, Hurricane Delta was located approximately 65 miles northeast of Progreso, Mexico, with maximum sustained winds of 100 miles per hour. The storm was moving northwest at 17 miles per hour.
The projected path of Hurricane Delta shows the storm moving back into the Gulf of Mexico where it will become a major hurricane, with winds in excess of 110 miles per hour. Delta is expected to make landfall in Louisiana as a minor hurricane during the day on Friday. Hurricane force winds are expected along most of the Louisiana coast and the eastern parts of the Texas coast.
By Saturday morning, Delta will be downgraded to a tropical storm hovering over the shared border between Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. From there, the storm will move through the states of Tennessee and Kentucky, small portions of southeastern Missouri and Illinois, northeastern Arkansas, North Carolina, and parts of Indiana and Ohio as a post-tropical cyclone.
By Monday morning, the storm will be located along the border of Ohio and West Virginia. It is expected to move across Pennsylvania, Maryland and Lake Erie at the beginning of next week.
In anticipation of the storm’s arrival in the U.S., the National Hurricane Center, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, issued several watches and warnings Wednesday. A storm surge watch was issued for the area of the Gulf Coast stretching from High Island, Texas, to the Alabama/Florida border.
A hurricane watch has been issued for the area extending from High Island to Grand Isle, Louisiana. Tropical storm watches are in effect for the area stretching from High Island to San Luis Pass, Texas, and the area between Grand Isle, Louisiana, and Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.
Governors of affected states have declared states of emergency and ordered mandatory evacuations. In Alabama, Gov. Ivey has issued mandatory evacuations for visitors and residents of Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Dauphin Island and the unincorporated area of Fort Morgan.
In Louisiana, Lafourche Parish’s Port Fouchon has entered “Storm Phrase 3,” which is “recommended evacuation.” Voluntary evacuations will go into effect 3 p.m. Thursday from White Ditch to Pointe a la Hache on the East Bank of Plaquemines Parish and from Phillips 66 Alliance to Venice on the West Bank of Plaquemines Parish.
In Jefferson Parish, mandatory evacuations have been issued for campers, recreational vehicles and boats in the town of Grand Isle, effective at 6:00 a.m. Thursday. Voluntary evacuations will go into effect in the communities of Jean Lafitte, Lower Lafitte, Crown Point and Barbara.
As the governors of Louisiana and Alabama declared states of emergency, Gov. Tate Reeves, R-Miss., has declined to take such action as of Wednesday afternoon.
The rainfall forecast from the National Hurricane Center shows that Delta could bring up to 10 inches of rain to parts of the southeastern United States. Rainfall totals of between six and 10 inches are expected in the central portion of Louisiana’s gulf coast as well as parts of Louisiana and Mississippi along the Mississippi River.
Portions of eastern and central Louisiana, southeastern Arkansas, and western Mississippi could see between four and six inches of rain from Delta. Western and eastern Louisiana, parts of southeastern Arkansas, central Mississippi, and a small sliver of eastern Texas could receive two to four inches of rainfall.